A Long and Happy Life

Price remembered at ceremony
August 1, 2011


Lasting impression: Program from Price celebration in May.

Lasting impression: Program from Price celebration in May.
Les Todd

The university paid tribute to author and longtime English professor Reynolds Price this May with a ceremony at Duke Chapel. Price ’55 died in January at the age of seventy-seven.

Speakers included current Duke president Richard H. Brodhead and president emerita Nannerl O. Keohane. The event was planned by a committee led by Price’s friend and former student Rachel Davies ’72, assistant director for the Duke Alumni Association’s travel program.

Keohane spoke of Price’s courage in the face of pain—treatment for spinal cancer, discovered in 1984, left him paralyzed from the waist down—his deeply Southern roots, his love of dancing in his wheelchair (“at first sedately, then with abandon”), and his humor.

Former students Josephine Humphries ’67, a novelist; Daniel Voll ’83, Price’s first assistant; and Annabeth Gish ’93, an actress, also participated. Humphries and Voll shared stories of Price inspiring them to be writers. Gish enacted a scene from Price’s play August Snow.

Among other presentations, colleague Melissa Malouf, an associate professor of the practice of English, read a selection of Price’s poetry.

An accompanying exhibition in the library’s Rare Book Room showcased photos, letters, and clippings from Price’s life.