Celebrating Professor Frances Cogan’s 35-year devotion to teaching

Frances Cogan – known by colleagues and friends as “Francie” – long-time professor of English at the University of Oregon’s Robert D. Clark Honors College, passed away on Tuesday, March 8 at the age of 68. She taught in university classrooms for 35 years and was the CHC’s Professor Emerita of Literature.

“She was truly committed to the craft of teaching, did not suffer fools lightly, and demanded the best of her students,” said former Dean of the Clark Honors College David Frank. “A host of students can testify to her brilliance in the classroom.”

Aside from being the distinguished Professor Emerita, Cogan won all three of the major teaching awards awarded by the university, including the Ersted Award, which recognizes teachers’ work at the beginning of their careers.

Resoundingly, Cogan is remembered for the unique energy and personality she energized classrooms with.

“Funny, honest, forthright, courageous – no one could tell a better story,” said long-time colleague and friend Louise Bishop. “Francie Cogan had the fiercest devotion to her students.”

Bishop posted to social media about Cogan’s passing, and several past students have already responded, sharing memories and voicing their appreciation.

Cogan was a scholar both inside and outside of the classroom. Her particular focus was with 19th century and turn-of-the-20th-century literature and history. She published her first book, All American Girl, in 1989, a book about young women in the 19th century. She published three others, including Captured, about American families in the Philippines interned in camps by the Japanese during World War II.

“Professor Cogan was a beloved teacher and colleague,” said Honors College Dean Terry Hunt in an email. “She deeply influenced literally thousands of lives. Her rebellious nature and generous spirit will be missed.”

A memorial service on the UO campus for Cogan will be held on April 2 from 2-4 pm in the Gerlinger Lounge. Arrangements are being taken care of by West Lawn Memorial Funeral Home and more information about her obituary and celebration of life can be found on its website.



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Troy Shinn

Troy Shinn

Politics News Reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald. UO Senior studying Journalism and Film.