The University of Arizona

Celebration of Regents Professor J. Douglas Canfield's Life Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

By Julieta Gonzalez, August 26, 2003

University of Arizona Regents' Professor J. Douglas Canfield died July 3, 2003 after a long battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

A public service celebrating his teaching and scholarly career will be held Wednesday, Sept. 3, from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Modern Languages Building Auditorium, Room 350 on the UA Campus.
Formal remarks will be delivered by Peter Likins, president of the UA; George Davis, executive vice president and Provost; Henry Koffler, president emeritus; Charles Tatum, dean of the College of Humanities and Larry Evers, head of the English department. Once the formal remarks have ended, Tatum will invite those in attendance to an open microphone to share their own memories of Canfield.

Canfield was the youngest child of Austin F. and Gertrude M. Canfield, born on Feb. 4, 1941, and raised in the Washington, D.C., area.

He graduated from Archbishop John Carroll High School as valedictorian in 1959. He earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1963, master's degrees from Yale and the Johns Hopkins universities in 1964 and 1965, respectively, and a doctorate from the University of Florida in 1969, where he was a United States Steel Foundation Fellow and earned election to Phi Beta Kappa.

He taught at the University of California at Los Angeles before joining the UA English department as an associate professor in 1974.

Canfield wrote several scholarly books and articles that spanned the Restoration period in 17th- century England and early 18th-century British drama and literature, to the comparative literature and culture of the Southwest borderlands. In spring 2001, he was invited to the University of Florence (Italy) to lecture on the Southwest, and to the University of Tuscia to lecture on Restoration England, and where a series of translations of restoration comedies into Italian has begun in his honor.

Canfield's scholarship earned him several fellowships, the most recent from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2000-2001. He also won several teaching awards, including the 1983 Five Star Faculty Award given by UA students. In 1993, the National Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Canfield the Arizona Professor of the Year. He was especially proud of his service to the University of Arizona as chairman of the 1991-1992 Task Force on Undergraduate Education under then-President Manuel Pacheco.

He was honored in 1994 as a Regents' Professor, a designation reserved for faculty scholars who have achieved national and international distinction. The designation is approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

Canfield also was a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a national referee with the Arizona Youth Soccer Organization. He coached his sons in several sports from the early 1970s until the mid-1990s, and co-coached and refereed a soccer team with his son Colin as recently as fall 2002.

His other hobbies were hunting and writing poetry, including two published books. He also authored a poetic drama on the American frontiersman John Charles Fremont.

Canfield was committed to social justice. His favorite course to teach was "The Ideology of Human Rights," and his dying wish was for world peace with justice as he descended "down to darkness on extended wings," believing along with his favorite poet, Wallace Stevens, that "death is the mother of beauty," and that his students "keep fighting."

Canfield is survived by his wife, Pamela Eden Canfield; three sons, Robert Alan, Bret Douglas, and Colin Geoffrey; and four siblings, Austin F. (and Martha) Canfield of Maryland, Maureen (and John) Canfield Lynch of Kansas, Gertrude (and Terry) Canfield Cavanaugh of Maryland, and Richard M. (and Anita) Canfield of Florida.