Remembering Dr. Malcolm Marsden

December 05 2017
Category: Faculty

Remembering Dr. Malcolm Marsden Remembering Dr. Malcolm Marsden

The Elmira College community was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Malcolm “Mal” Marsden, Dana Professor of English Literature Emeritus, on November 30 at the age of 95. Dr. Marsden began his career at Elmira College in 1955 and, by the time he retired 38 years later in 1993, he had become a veritable institution. 

Dr. Marsden joined the Elmira College community after teaching at Syracuse University and was happy to be with a small liberal arts college, being quoted as saying, "I just loved it from the beginning, and I love living in upstate New York." He enjoyed the level of relationships with administrators, faculty members and students, which he felt he wouldn’t find at a larger university.

“Malcolm was the best of us and made us proud to be associated with Elmira College,” said Dr. Charles Mitchell, provost and professor of American studies, when reflecting upon Dr. Marsden’s impact on members of the Elmira College faculty.

Patty Hunt Walsh ’58, Class Reunion Chair, reflected upon Dr. Marsden’s influence, “I am sad to learn of the passing of Dr. Marsden. The members of the Class of ’58 are truly blessed to have known and been nurtured by such a brilliant, accomplished, and caring man.”

Remembering Dr. Malcolm Marsden Remembering Dr. Malcolm Marsden

Inducted as an honorary member of the Elmira College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1969, Dr. Marsden served that organization for many years and remained active through 2017. The citation for his election reads in part as follows: “You have earned the respect, esteem, and friendship of generations of Elmira students . . . you have proved yourself a man of stability, high standards, and good sense . . . you have left an indelible imprint of modesty, generosity, warmth, and good humor.”   Dr. Marsden continued to embody those words for the remaining twenty-five years of his career.

In 1992, Dr. Marsden was presented the annual Catherine McGraw Rock Award for outstanding service, an award he had won once before in 1962. The award, established by former chair of the College's Board of Trustees Harold McGraw, is given to a senior member of the Elmira College faculty. 

The Malcolm and Virginia Marsden Endowment Fund was established with gifts from members of the Class of 1958, for which Dr. Marsden had served as Patron Saint. Income from the fund is used to support faculty development for professors and instructors in the humanities.

"Professor Marsden was a paragon of teaching and scholarship - a perfect model of a faculty member. He was inspiring and engaging in the classroom, bringing out the best in students and always holding them to the highest standards," said Connie O'Neill Gourdeau '58, Class President.  “Members of the Class of 1958 were so proud to establish the Malcolm and Virginia Marsden Endowed Fund to honor our wonderful Patron Saints.  His impact will continue to echo through the ages because he touched so many lives." 

Those wishing to make gifts in memoriam, may make a donation online or mail donations to: Elmira College, Attn: Peggy Arnesen ’63, One Park Place, Elmira, NY 14901.