Prof. Emeritus P. Albert Duhamel, who taught English
at Boston College for nearly 50 years and was a founder
of the University's Honors Program, died Oct. 1. He
"Al was one of the giants of the Boston College English department in the 1950's and 1960's," said Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ, who studied under Prof. Duhamel as an undergraduate. "He inspired many of his students - myself included - to follow in his footsteps in the study of the history of English literature.
"In founding the honors program at Boston College, he set a new standard for intellectual excellence," Fr. Appleyard said. "Appropriately, he spent the last happy years of his teaching career introducing freshmen to the great literature of the past."
In addition to his teaching, Prof. Duhamel for several years was book editor at The Boston Herald and hosted a weekly television show on WGBH-TV, "I've Been Reading," for which he interviewed a wide range of authors and other guests, ranging from professional baseball players to best-selling novelists.
One of his guests was Julia Child, who in 1962 cooked her first television meal - an omelet - on his show. A number of viewers contacted the station to express their interest in the cooking segment, and Child launched a pilot for her own show on WGBH shortly thereafter.
A graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Prof. Duhamel earned a master's degree in English at Boston College and added a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin.
Prof. Duhamel joined the Boston College faculty in 1949. He was later appointed to the English department's Philomatheia Chair, which he held until his retirement in 1995.
In 1958, College of Arts and Sciences Dean William Van Etten Casey, SJ, appointed him director of Boston College's new Office of Special Programs. There, Prof. Duhamel joined fellow faculty members Walter Langlois and Joseph Sheerin to select academically talented students for the University's inaugural Honors Program.
Residents of Bedford, Prof. Duhamel and his wife of 63 years, Helen (Stowell) Duhamel, delighted in travel and spent many summer vacations visiting unusual places around the globe, according to their daughter, Mary Kramer. In addition to his wife and daughter, Prof. Duhamel is survived by two grandchildren.
In keeping with his lifelong dedication to education, Prof. Duhamel willed his body to a medical school. The memorial service will be private. Donations in his name may be made to the University of Wisconsin Foundation, P.O. Box 8869, Madison, Wis. 53708 for the support of that school's Helen C. White Library.
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