Dan Bivona, Professor Emeritus

Professor Dan Bivona’s retirement this year will mark 25 years of service to the Department of English, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Arizona State University. His regular presence on the faculty will be missed by all who know him, both for his dedication to teaching and scholarship and for his sharp yet subtle sense of humor.

Picture of Dan Bivona introduces the 2018 Ian Fletcher Memorial Lecture speaker

After receiving his PhD in literature at Brown University in 1987, Bivona taught at several colleges and universities in the Northeast, finally joining our department in 1996 after serving as professor of English for seven years at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his duties as associate and full professor of British literature, he served as associate chair of the Department of English (1998-2000), chair of English (2000-2002), associate dean for academic programs in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, then “CLAS” (2002-2004), and divisional dean of undergraduate programs (2004-2007).

Specializing in nineteenth and twentieth-century century British literature, Bivona has published numerous scholarly works on class and imperialism in Victorian literature, among other topics.       

For those of us who were grad students at the turn of the millennium, the departure of Bivona, and of his colleagues Mark Lussier and Taylor Corse (also retiring this year), marks the end of a memorable time in our development as scholars and educators. I was fortunate to attend several of Bivona’s classes, one of which focused on aestheticism and decadence in late Victorian literature. It was quite a shock following my immersion in Native American oral traditions and American folklore, but a fascinating class nevertheless, taught by a knowledgeable and engaging professor.    

Associate Professor Cora Fox offers a tribute to the regard in which Bivona is held among department faculty:

Dan was one of the most beloved and longest serving chairs of the department. He was a particularly strong ally and advocate for the faculty in English and an outstanding community builder, and he was always honest and transparent about administrative constraints. Longtime members of the department remember the moment when he moved to the Dean’s Office, at the time still located in the Social Sciences building. A collection was taken up to buy him a whistle to use if the aging (and half-condemned) building came down on him. We did not want to lose him!

We are glad he never had to use his emergency whistle, and send our best to Dan Bivona as he retires. May the coming years bring him joy in all things.

Larry Ellis

Image: Dan Bivona introduces the 2018 Ian Fletcher Memorial Lecture speaker, Laura Chrisman, at an event held at the ASU Memorial Union. Photo by Bruce Matsunaga. More photos from the event are on ASU English's Flickr site.