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David Norris MacKinnon

From:EKU Memorials <>
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2021 3:44:11 PM
Subject: Passing of Dr. David Norris MacKinnon

It is with profound sadness that we share the news that longtime EKU Spanish Professor Dr. David Norris MacKinnon passed away on Thursday, August 6, in Pennsylvania.

Dr. MacKinnon received his B.A. at Davidson College, his M.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky. He came to EKU in 1977 and taught here for a quarter century until his retirement in 2002.

During his tenure at EKU, he served on the Faculty Senate and on the Senate’s Committee on Rights & Responsibilities. He also led the Foreign Language Department’s Travel Study Program and was the coordinator of the Spanish section for several years during which he created a Tertulia (social hour for students to practice their Spanish in a real-world environment). Additionally, he worked with the Honors Program as a mentor and helped students with their thesis presentations. He was the co-founder, along with Dr. Kathy Hill, of EKU’s Eta Mu chapter of the International Hispanic Society, Sigma Delta Pi, which he sponsored for several Years. He enjoyed teaching medieval Spanish literature and the writers from Spain’s Generation of 1898, among them Pio Baroja, Unamuno, Azorin and Antonio Machado.

He liked to go to class wearing a Spanish boina (beret), which some writers in Spain used to wear. He was a wonderful teacher and friend. He was known for his integrity, his generosity, and his dedication to his students, his community, and his friends. His Spanish was so beautiful and so well-articulated that some people thought he was originally from Spain. He was also known and loved for his sense of humor, which he used in class to motivate the students. He was a down-to-earth, sociable person. He enjoyed good food, dancing to Hispanic music, and red wine, especially Spanish wine. He also loved to ride his bicycle. He used to say that riding for him was “medicine for his spirit and his problems and concerns.”

He was an active leader in his church, First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, and he traveled on several occasions to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to help translate for the Church’s mission team that installed water purification systems in rural communities in need.

Dr. MacKinnon's wife, Molly, died very young, and he was left with the responsibility of raising two children, Laura and Douglas. After retiring from EKU, he stayed in Richmond for several years, but later moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. The most important thing for him was to love everybody. He used to say frequently “all love matters” and his love was reciprocated in kind.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family and his many friends, colleagues, and former students in the EKU community.

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