AUSTIN, Texas—A memorial ceremony celebrating the life of Professor Emeritus James L. Kinneavy of The University of Texas at Austin will be held Aug. 27 from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the Jessen Auditorium in Rainey Hall on the University campus.
The ceremony, which is open to the public, will recognize the scholarship and service of Kinneavy, who died in Austin at the age of 79 on Aug. 10 following a brief illness.
Kinneavy’s influential book, A Theory of Discourse, published in 1971, provided a unifying framework for understanding many kinds of writing, from expressive to scientific. His framework reestablished important connections between writing instruction and classical rhetoric. Kinneavy is credited with a major role in the national revival of the study of rhetoric and composition, including founding a nationally acclaimed doctorate level specialization in rhetoric in the English department at The University of Texas at Austin.
As an active consultant to educational agencies and institutions, Kinneavy significantly changed the way composition is taught at colleges and high schools across the United States. The Texas Education Agency adopted his theory of discourse as the foundation of its English program, as did the State of Wisconsin. In appreciation for his help in shaping its writing curriculum, St. Edward’s University awarded Kinneavy an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 1980.
Kinneavy joined the faculty of the College of Education at UT Austin in 1963 and later moved to the English department. He held the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professorship in English from 1983 until his retirement. An award-winning teacher, Kinneavy published eight books and many articles in scholarly journals. His contributions to rhetoric and composition were recognized with a prestigious Exemplar Award by the national Conference on College Composition and Communication in 1995. He was known for his generous support of colleagues and students and for his sheer love of his work. As one former student put it, “his intellectual joy was widely disseminated.”
For additional information, contact Professor Lester Faigley in the division of rhetoric and composition at UT Austin, (512) 471-6109.