Beloved as warm, nurturing “Dr. V” by a generation of English and writing students, David L. Vanderwerken, emeritus professor of American literature, died in January. He was 69.
Over a 43-year teaching and publishing career, all at TCU, he was known for his love of 20th century American literature, quick New England wit and passion for sports.
He began at TCU in 1971, and his classes on William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, the Jazz Age, The American Dream, Jewish-American literature and sports literature were among the most popular at the university, according to the registrar’s office. Some of the courses he inherited and redesigned; others he invented. A few semesters before his 2014 retirement, he developed and taught the American Short Story for the first time.
He was a 1994 finalist for the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and a 2003 finalist for the Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Activity at TCU.
Beyond campus, he was Phi Beta Kappa, a founding member of the Sports Literature Association and a Fulbright Scholar to Hungary in 2005 and 2008. He also served as president of the College Council of Teachers of English.
He was the author of three books and wrote and delivered numerous conference papers. His scholarship appeared in the prestigious journals American Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, and Twentieth-Century Literature.