Professor Emeritus of History William DeWitt Metz, Hon. ’70, of Kingston passed away February 11, 2013 at the age of 98. He came to URI (then the Rhode Island State College) in 1945 and served as the History Department Chair from 1962–68. He retired in 1982. Rhode Island history was his specialty and passion. “Before there was an Ask.com, people with history questions just asked Bill Metz,” said Arline Fleming (The Providence Journal, 2/7/07). Bill was honored that year by the South County Museum for having served as president for 14 years and for his foresight in relocating the museum to Narragansett. The main building, the Metz Building, was named in his honor. Professor Metz had a long and distinguished career at URI and also worked tirelessly on behalf of many local organizations, especially historic societies and commissions. In 1997, the State of Rhode Island honored Dr. Metz for his lifelong community service by conferring upon him the state’s highest historic preservation award, the Antoinette R. Downing Volunteer Service Award.
Professor Emeritus of English Literature Daniel D. Pearlman of Providence passed away February 18, 2013. Professor Pearlman came to URI in 1980. He served as the English Department Chair from 1980–83, and taught a variety of courses here; his poetry and creative writing courses were especially popular. He was known as an inspiring teacher and a dedicated mentor of graduate students. In addition to teaching, his career encompassed both scholarship and creative writing. He was a major scholar of the twentieth century American poet Ezra Pound, and his research earned him major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society. He began publishing fiction in 1987. His work included story collections, novels, and a screenplay.
Professor Emeritus of Art Robert Rohm died peacefully at home on June 4, 2013. He taught at URI from 1965–1997. He was an internationally known sculptor with exhibitions at museums and galleries including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; the Seattle Art Museum; and the Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland. His works are represented in public and private collections nationally and internationally. His dedication to sculpture was echoed in his inspired teaching of undergraduates. At URI, he helped establish the modern practice of sculpture education in Kingston. He contributed to the early success of the URI Gallery and established the ongoing Visual Arts Program of Sea Grant with colleague Scott Nixon. Professor Rohm influenced the arts at URI for a generation, and a number of his students became well-known artists and curators. He was an avid traveler and designed his home in Charlestown, where he carefully cultivated the grounds, including a Zen-inspired garden. In addition to art and travel, he taught ESL, served on the Charlestown Planning Commission, and was a founding member of the Jamestown Community Farm, which grows and distributes organic produce to food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state.
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics E.R. Suryanarayan died peacefully at home on June 24, 2013. Born in Bengaluru (then Bangalore), India, he came to the United States in 1957 and began teaching at the University of Rhode Island in 1960. His teaching career spanned 41 years. “Sury”, as he was known to his colleagues and students, served as Chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1984–86. The final years of his professorship at URI were fruitful, including work in fractals, and articles published in various professional journals. He also spent the later stages of his career advising and guiding students in Karnataka, India towards their post-graduate degrees. He and his wife, Indu, lived in Kingston RI for 51 years, spending winter months in India. Sury, along with his wife, Indu, was a generous supporter of the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Their generosity as instrumental in supporting peace and nonviolence work on campus and around the world.