Remembering Michael DePorte

photo of Michael DePorte
English Professor Janet Yount is retiring this spring after 33 years at UNH. As a last act of service, Yount is fundraising for a scholarship endowment in the name of a dear colleague who passed away nearly a decade ago, Michael DePorte.

A UNH professor for 31 years, DePorte devoted much of his 38-year career to the study of 18th century literature, particularly the writings of Irish author Jonathan Swift, famous for his 1726 work, Gulliver’s Travels.

DePorte came to UNH in 1972 from the University of Chicago, where he was an assistant professor from 1966 to 1972. In 1986, DePorte received the first Gary Lindberg Award for the Best Scholar and Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts. From 1987 to 1996 he served as chair of the English Department, and as interim chair in 2002.

DePorte passed away in 2003 from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

“Reflecting on my retirement made me think of Michael DePorte,” says Yount, “the colleague with whom I shared the delight of teaching eighteenth-century literature to our students over many years. Because Mike loved literature and respected the literary text, when he passed away, a scholarship fund was set up as a lasting memorial to his generous spirit.”

But the fund never reached endowment level, rendering it inactive. Yount wanted to rectify that. Over the past few months, Yount has contacted friends, colleagues, and former students of DePorte and raised additional money. The fund is now approximately $5,000 short of its goal of $25,000.

The purpose of the scholarship fund is to support stellar undergraduates through an annual award to the most deserving undergraduate student in the English Literature major.

Yount hopes that the fund can reach its goal by April 30, with the prospect of making the first award in the coming academic year.

“For me, meeting this goal would be the ideal way of marking the next phase of my life,” says Yount.

Tax-deductible gifts can be made at foundation.unh.edu/make-gift. Note in the special instructions section that you would like the gift to be directed to the DePorte Scholarship Fund.

Gifts by mail can be sent to UNH Foundation, Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Drive, Durham, NH 03824. Please make the check payable to the UNH Foundation and note the DePorte Scholarship Fund in the memo line of the check.

One Response to Remembering Michael DePorte

  1. Cathy DePorte says:

    Thank you for your lovely article about the DePorte Scholarship Fund, set up to honor my father’s memory. I am deeply moved by Professor Janet Yount’s generous efforts to revive the fund; and look forward to hearing news about the scholarship recipient, once endowment level is attained.

    Cathy DePorte
    Manchester, CT

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