University Mourns Loss of Longtime Faculty Member and Friend
Memorial Fund to Honor Dr. Victor L. Worsfold, Who Taught at UT Dallas From 1975 to 2001
May 2, 2013
Dr. Victor L. Worsfold taught at UT Dallas from 1975 to 2001. (Photo courtesy of Mark Avellanet)
Dr. Victor L. Worsfold, associate professor emeritus of UT Dallas, passed away Sunday, April 21, at age 69. Worsfold was an inspiring educator and School of Arts and Humanities faculty member from 1975 to 2001 and a recipient of the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award in 1989.
“Victor Worsfold was a dedicated and charismatic teacher, and he inspired devoted friendships from countless students and colleagues. The commitment and passion he showed during his years at the University exemplified the deep care he held for others. His loss will be felt deeply,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, provost and executive vice president at UT Dallas.
Worsfold taught courses in ethics, social and political philosophy, the philosophy of education, and the humanities.
“Victor was an exemplary colleague and a true gentleman for whom philosophy – the love of wisdom – was more than an academic pursuit; it was a way of life,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. The school honors Worsfold, his service to the University and his excellence as a teacher with the annual Victor Worsfold Outstanding Teaching Award.
Dean of Graduate Studies Austin Cunningham said Worsfold was essential in establishing the basic elements of a training program for teaching assistants in the 1990s. “He wanted to empower students to serve as adjunct faculty members, which is what TAs essentially are. The objective was to ensure the students knew they weren’t on an island; there were people here to help them,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham recalled how Worsfold had enjoyed serving as orator at commencement, his Scottish lilt announcing the names of degree recipients. “He had an excitement and love of being an academic, and he had a great love of UT Dallas. He participated in the evolution of the University, and he enjoyed that he was given an opportunity to contribute. Victor grasped it with both hands. He gave of himself,” Cunningham said.
For many years, Worsfold also served as a consultant to the University’s McDermott Scholars Program. “Dr. Worsfold was an inspiring colleague. His passion for our institution, the program and their people was infectious. His dedication infinitely improved our work. All who were fortunate enough to know him will miss him terribly and will always appreciate the indelible impact he had,” said McDermott Scholars Program Director Molly Seeligson.
Working with the program, Worsfold taught a range of topics, from education to philosophy to the arts. He also served as “resident opera expert.” He gave regular lectures on operas that the McDermott Scholars attended in Santa Fe and Dallas, and is credited with making an opera lover of many. He advised the scholars on study abroad experiences and supervised independent study projects.
Nate Fairbank, a McDermott Scholar and the UT Dallas Student Government vice president, said he is grateful to have worked with Worsfold.
“He’d give me advice, or just listen. He’d tell me about the opera, above and beyond what he shared in his regular lecture,” said Fairbank. “His passion for life and beauty in all forms continually amazed and inspired me. He struck me as a man who had lived a life that brought himself lasting happiness and satisfaction every day.”
In the memory of Worsfold, Fairbank hopes to raise $10,000 to create a permanent endowment in support of the Campus Enhancement Fund, resulting in the naming of a magnolia tree on the mall in tribute of Worsfold.
“This would be a fitting way to honor and remember his love of beauty, as well as his passion and dedication to the University,” added Fairbank.
Worsfold was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and earned degrees from the Universities of St. Andrews, Oxford and Toronto. He earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1975 in philosophy of education and came to UT Dallas the same year to teach. He was a founding member of the Dallas Symphony Chorus and a former board member of the Dallas Suicide and Crisis Center.
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