In Memoriam: Greg Colomb

October 13, 2011 — University of Virginia English professor Gregory G. Colomb died Oct. 11 in Charlottesville. He was 60.

A funeral will be held on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, 201 N. 1st St. His family will receive visitors at Hill and Wood Oct. 14 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Colomb joined the English department in the College of Arts & Sciences in 1997 and directed the Academic and Professional Writing Program.

After earning master's and doctoral degrees in English from U.Va. in 1978, he taught at the University of Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The New Orleans native received his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston.

Colomb was perhaps best known for his work developing the "Little Red Schoolhouse" curriculum on writing at the University of Chicago, along with Joseph M. Williams, Francis X. Kinahan, Lawrence D. McEnerney and Wayne Booth, according to Jon D'Errico, an assistant professor and associate director of the U.Va. writing program.

"Greg was a wonderful friend," D'Errico said, "but his great and rare gift was to remain, in the pursuit of new truths, both excited about teaching ideas that were for him already long accepted and also genuinely caring about the students and colleagues with whom he shared them."

The schoolhouse project led to a longtime collaboration with Williams and also yielded several publications: "Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace," "The Craft of Research" and "The Craft of Argument." Colomb also co-edited the latest edition of Turabian's "Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations."

"The Craft of Research" won the Critics' Choice Award in 1996 and has been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Korean.

Colomb gave countless lectures nationwide over his career, sharing his practical writing techniques with professional groups, including lawyers, doctors and scientists, as well as with academic writers. He also helped several colleges and universities structure their student writing programs.

For the past several years, he worked with a team of graduate students in developing an online version of the schoolhouse curriculum, supported by grants from the Jefferson Public Citizens program and the late Frank Batten.

Colomb is survived by his wife, Sandra, and three daughters. 

Daily Progress obituary

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