Passings: David R. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Art History

August 5, 2016

David R. Smith

Professor emeritus David R. Smith passed away on July 30, 2016 at his home in Maine. He was 70 years old. Professor Smith joined the UNH faculty as an art historian in 1979 after earning his Ph.D. from Columbia a year earlier. He retired in 2015. He taught courses all all levels, from broad introductory art history courses to more specialized courses in Rococo, Baroque, Northern Renaissance, Greek and Roman art. He published many articles, exhibition essays and catalogues, book chapters and books including his 2012 edited collection, “Parody and Festivity in Early Modern Art : Essays on Comedy as Social Vision”  (Ashgate) and his 1982 book, “Masks of Wedlock: Seventeenth-century Dutch Marriage Portraiture” (UMI Research Press).

“Professor Smith was an unusually gifted lecturer, with rare expertise in Dutch art and culture, whose classes were overenrolled for many years,” notes Craig Hood, professor and chair of the UNH Department of Art and Art History.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Newmarket Community Church located at 137 Main Street in Newmarket, NH. The service will be followed by a brief reception.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations toward the publishing costs of Professor Smith’s last book, “Privacy and Civilization in Dutch Art 1650-1700,” which is now awaiting publication at the University of Delaware Press. The book is a fundamental rethinking of the forms and meanings of Dutch realism, based on a dichotomy between private and public sensibilities that looks forward to modernity. Donations can be made at

Read the obituary published in

Passing: Murray A. Straus

May 17, 2016
Murray A. Straus

Murray A. Straus

By David Finkelhor, UNH Professor of Sociology:

Murray Straus, an internationally influential former professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and founder of the field of family violence research, died May 13, 2016 at the age of 89.

Beginning in the 1970s, his surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.

He devoted much of his later career to the study of spanking and corporal punishment, accumulating evidence that spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between them and their parents, among other negative side effects.

He pioneered techniques for getting information about sensitive topics such as being the victim or perpetrator of family violence in national household and telephone surveys. His Conflict Tactics Scale, which he revised over the years, became the standard approach for gathering information about child and spouse abuse and one of the more widely used instruments in social science.

His findings led him to the conclusion that, although women suffered more serious consequences than men from domestic aggression, women perpetrated a considerable amount of violence in intimate relationships that also needed to be addressed in public policy if families were to be made safe.

Early in his career he specialized in rural sociology and the measurement of family interaction.

He became interested in family violence as a result of planning a meeting of the National Council of Family Relations in Chicago, Illinois, in 1968 in the wake of police brutality there at the Democratic Convention.

He decided that to engage with the issues of the day, they needed to assemble a panel on the connection between families and societal violence. He went on to show that people exposed to violence in their families of origin were considerably more likely to engage in violence as adults and to support public policies such as capital punishment and military intervention.

He was of the opinion that spanking, even when used in moderation, taught that hitting and violence were appropriate and even necessary responses when a person believed someone else’s misbehavior needed correction. He concluded, based on his research, that parents should be taught to never spank children. He strongly endorsed and provided much of the scientific evidence to back efforts to ban corporal punishment, a ban which has been adopted by more than four dozen countries.

Straus spent most of his career, from 1968 until his death, at UNH, much of it as director of the Family Research Laboratory, after previous positions at Washington State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell and the University of Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s and doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin.

He was an energetic and prolific scholar, authoring 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Among the most widely cited were “Behind Closed Doors” and “Beating the Devil Out of Them.”

He was also a devoted teacher who trained and mentored dozens of scholars, including many of the current luminaries in the field of family violence, as director for 30 years of a post-doctoral fellowship program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

He served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the National Council on Family Relations and the Eastern Sociological Society and was active in numerous other academic organizations.

He was the recipient of many awards, including from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Sociological Association.

He was known as a warm and engaging person who enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and supervising students. He assembled two large international consortia, involving dozens of scholars in more than 30 countries to conduct cross-national comparative surveys on dating violence and parental disciplinary practices.

Straus was born in New York City on June 18, 1926, to Samuel and Kathleen (Miller) Straus.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Dunn Straus; his children by a previous marriage, Carol Straus and Dr. John Straus; his stepchildren David Dunn and wife Kathy, Lisa Dunn, Thomas Dunn and wife Linda; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial to commemorate his life and work is planned for July 11 in conjunction with the International Conference on Family Violence and Child Victimization Research to be held at the Portsmouth Sheraton. All members of the community are welcome.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Family Research Lab Projects Fund, with checks made out to UNH Foundation and referencing Murray Straus, and mailed to:

Family Research Lab Projects Fund
c/o UNH Foundation
9 Edgewood Road
Durham, NH 03824

Article source: UNH Today

Dave Seiler to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from New Hampshire Band Directors Association

April 11, 2016

Dave Seiler

Professor Emeritus of Music Dave Seiler has been chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Band Directors Association (NHBDA). This award has only been given out twice before, once in 2006 and once in 2014. The award letter to Seiler reads, in part:  “It is the opinion of the NHBDA Executive Board that you are someone who fits the criteria for this award perfectly. You received the NHBDA Outstanding Band Director Award in 2007 and you have had a highly visible and successful career at UNH. Your professional work in New England is well known and is ongoing. Your name comes to mind whenever anyone speaks of jazz in New Hampshire.” Seiler will receive the award on July 8, 2016.

Memorial Service: Jean Kennard, Professor Emerita of English

April 7, 2016

Jean Kennard

Jean Elizabeth Kennard, UNH professor emerita of English, died March 26, 2016 at the Laconia Rehabilitation Center in Laconia of pneumonia. She was 79. Her life partner of 39 years, Susan Schibanoff, was at her side.

During her tenure at UNH, Kennard authored four books and numerous articles on Victorian literature and modern British fiction, with specialty areas in women’s literature, the literature of World War 1, and GLBT studies. She also taught undergraduate and graduate courses on these subjects, including the first course on women’s literature at UNH. She was the first female chair of the English Department (1978-1981) and its first female tenured full professor. She received the 1986-1987 University Distinguished Teaching Award; the 1992-1993 Kidder Fund Tolerance Award for Faculty; and the 1999-2000 University Distinguished Professor Award. More.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 22, at 1 p.m., in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn, located at 172 North Main St. in Concord, N.H. A reception will follow.

Memorial donations may be made to the New Hampshire Humane Society, an animal shelter or rescue organization of your choice, or sponsor a student at Bridge International Academies:

Lost and Found: Looking back on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster

January 28, 2016

Andy Merton
From UNH Today, by Tracey Bentley

On this 30th anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Challenger, UNH Today looks back with professor emeritus of English Andrew Merton.

Back in the winter of 1986, Merton was a faculty member in the UNH department of English, and his son Gabe was a first-grader at a local elementary school.

Merton recalls: “On Jan. 28, K-12 teachers throughout New Hampshire brought TVs into their classrooms to enable their students to watch the Challenger launch. New Hampshire’s Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space. Then, of course, it all went wrong, and the classroom teachers were left to grapple with how to deal with the tragic developments.”

The events of that day moved Merton to pen a poem called “Lost and Found,” in which Merton, the teacher, celebrates McAuliffe, the teacher.

After nearly three decades, Merton recently published “Lost and Found” in a collection of the same name. Here is the poem.


Lost and Found

for Gabe and in memory of Christa McAuliffe, Jan. 28, 1986

In winter
the big wooden box

in your school cafeteria
fills with boots, sweaters, sweatshirts,

hockey pucks, scarves,
and, on the day

they brought in a TV
so you and your friends

could watch a teacher
leave earth,

one small sky-blue mitten.
—Andrew Merton


(Published by permission)

book coverMerton will read from “Lost and Found” at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. and at the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Getting Used to Old Age and Retirement

January 14, 2016

book cover

UNH Professor Emeritus of English Tom Carnicelli has written a book of poems about his thoughts and feelings during the first few years of retirement. “Old Guy Part One: Getting Used to Old Age and Retirement” doesn’t take itself too seriously, says Carnicelli, though it does have its serious moments. Carnicelli taught English in various colleges for 53 years, 46 of them at the University of New Hampshire. He retired in 2013. He wrote poetry in his own college days and started writing it again after he retired. He tries to make his poems accessible to everyone, not just English majors.

“Old Guy Part One” is published by Piscataqua Press. It is available for purchase locally at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH, and online from major retailers.

Lost and Found

December 7, 2015

book cover

Professor Emeritus of English Andrew Merton has published his second full-length book of poetry, “Lost and Found (Accents Publishing). The collection continues the poignant, personable humor from his first work, “Evidence that We Are Descended from Chairs,” but adds a confessional flavor that gives his new work a more nonfictional feel. “Lost and Found is an autobiographical journey that begins at conception and extends beyond the grave, and spans the spectrum from realism to the surreal.

“Lost and Found” is available at the publisher’s website.

Merton is a journalist, essayist and poet. His first book of poetry, “Evidence that We Are Descended from Chairs,” with a foreword by Charles Simic (Accents Publishing, 2012) was named Outstanding Book of Poetry for 2013–2014 by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. Merton retired from UNH earlier this year.

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