Professor Patricia A. Donahue, you have made an indelible impact not only on many individual students and colleagues, but on the College as an institution. You received your Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. You joined Lafayette’s Department of English as an assistant professor in 1985. You were tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1992 and promoted to professor in 2004.

Pat Donahue in her officeProfessor Donahue, you have taught such courses as Psychoanalysis and Literature; Detective Stories, Thrillers, and Serial Killers: Tradition and Innovation; Trapped in a Golden (C)age: Representations of Women in the English Renaissance; and Language, Rhetoric, and Power. You have been a recognized expert on matters of assessment, and your voice was always central in discussions of the appropriate use of student evaluation data. Professor Donahue, you were one of six members of the faculty who helped design and teach Lafayette’s initial iteration of a First-Year Seminar, and over the years have helped faculty throughout the College design effective writing assignments for our entering students.

Professor Donahue, you were the first writing specialist to be hired by the English Department. Although the responsibility for creating a writing-across-the-curriculum program was not mentioned in either the job listing or during your job interviews, you arrived on campus to discover that you were expected to play a leadership role in designing and implementing such a program. Professor Donahue, in 1986, you succeeded in creating the College Writing Program (CWP), which is nationally recognized for its excellence both because of your extensive knowledge of best practices in the teaching of writing and because you have a gift for forming close and effective professional relationships with colleagues across the campus. You served as the CWP director until 2008.

Professor Donahue, you are a well-known and highly regarded scholar in the field of writing studies. Your scholarship has focused on reading theories, disciplinary and pedagogical histories, and the construction of difficulty. In addition to having your work widely published in several journals, you are co-author of The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty and co-editor of Reclaiming Pedagogy: The Rhetoric of the Classroom and Local Histories: Reading the Archives of Composition. You were chosen as a Carnegie Scholar, a notable achievement that indicates the high quality of your contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Professor Pat Donahue at the front of a classroomIn addition, Professor Donahue, you played a leading role in helping faculty understand that the scholarship of teaching and learning is an academically rigorous field of intellectual inquiry. Because of your efforts, many faculty across campus are publishing peer-reviewed scholarship in the field of pedagogy—as is highly appropriate at an institution that encourages its faculty to continually reflect on and strive for excellence in teaching.

Throughout your Lafayette career, Professor Donahue, you have been a dedicated member of the department, the College, and the profession. In addition to serving as head and associate head, you served on many departmental committees. You have served on a variety of College-wide committees, including the Governance Committee, the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, the Teaching and Learning Committee, and the Student Appeals Committee. You also were a tireless advocate for the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship and played a seminal role in its conceptualization and establishment. In addition, you contributed in major ways to the Middle States reviews of the College. Your professional service, Professor Donahue, includes being an editor of READER (the only scholarly journal published at Lafayette), a member on the editorial board for The WAC Journal (Writing Across the Curriculum), a reviewer for major journals and conferences in your field, including the Conference on College Composition and Communication, College English, and Pedagogy, and an elected delegate for the Modern Language Association.

Pat Donahue looks at a book with Brandt Siegel '03

Pat Donahue with Brandt Siegel ’03

You were the recipient of the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995, the James P. Crawford Award in 2005, the Carl R. and Ingeborg Biedelman Research Award in 2008, and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2016.

Pat, over the years, you have collaborated with faculty from fields as diverse as biology, mathematics, engineering, music, economics, and religious studies—and many of your professional relationships with colleagues from other disciplines have blossomed into personal friendships that strengthen the sense of community at Lafayette. Your friendship is treasured by the many former students whose personal and intellectual development was fostered by you. You also have been a wonderful mentor and friend to many, many Lafayette faculty, who value your warmth and generosity of spirt, your honesty and wit, and your Irish gift of the gab. Few have cared about the well-being of Lafayette College and its community as passionately as you, Pat Donahue; your leadership, collegiality, and commitment to service is sorely missed.


  1. mariolina salvatori says:

    Such a well deserved tribute, Pat! I hope that this thoughtful and detailed reminder of all that you have achieved at and for Lafayette will always make you smile with pride (and occasionally laugh?). I am grateful to those who composed this tribute because it will rekindle in those who have often traveled side by side with you, and tell those who have not had this lucky chance, the realization of the extent to which the most memorable and lasting intellectual achievements are rooted in generosity, collegiality, warmth, and pure joy. You are the embodiment of these qualities. Well done!

  2. Walter Wadiak says:

    I didn’t know half of these things about you, Pat! I had no idea you helped design both the FYS and CITLS. Also,”Trapped in a Golden (C)age” is officially my new favorite course title.

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