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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

University professor emeritus dies at 71

Joseph A. Buttigieg, William R. Kenan Jr. professor emeritus of English and retired director of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program at Notre Dame, died at 71 on Sunday, son Pete Buttigieg announced in a Facebook post.

“As a friend, colleague, thinker, and educator, he touched countless lives, and we hope to find a way to honor his impact later on in the spring,” Buttigieg — mayor of South Bend — said in the post. “Meanwhile we are left with memories of his powerful intellect, his extensive legacy, his personal warmth and his deeply felt love for Mom, me, and all those close to him.”

Buttigieg arrived at Notre Dame in 1980. In addition to teaching English, he served as director of the Hesburgh-Yusko program, a “merit-based scholarship and leadership development initiative,” from its start in 2010 to 2017, the University said in a press release Sunday. He was also a fellow at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and directed the Stamps Scholars Program, a national merit scholarship program.

“Joe was a superb scholar, an inspirational teacher and a pioneering leader as the inaugural director of the fledgling Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “We join with his many, many family and friends in mourning his passing. We will miss him at Notre Dame. God rest his soul.”

According to the release, Buttigieg received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Malta, and a second bachelor’s degree from Heythrop College in London. He later earned his doctorate from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

His research specializations included “modern literature, critical theory and the relationship between culture and politics,” the release said. He penned several articles and a book on James Joyce titled, “A Portrait of the Artist in Different Perspective.”

In 1989, Buttigieg helped found International Gramsci Society, where he served as president. According to the release, the Italian minister of culture later selected him to help develop the national edition of Gramsci’s writings.

Buttigieg held seats on the editorial and advisory boards of several journals and was a member of “boundary 2,” a literature and culture publication.

He is succeeded by his wife, Anne Montgomery, who taught at the University for 29 years, and his son, Pete.