Faculty Stories

Larry McEnerney, director of university writing program, and Cathe McEnerney to retire as resident deans

The McEnerneys have served as resident deans since the opening of Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons in 2009

Larry McEnerney, AM’80, and Cathe McEnerney, resident deans of Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons East, have announced they will retire from their positions at the University of Chicago at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

“Larry and Cathe have enriched and enlivened our residential community since the opening of Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons in 2009,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Their ability to create a supportive environment that nourishes the academic and personal growth of students, where lifelong bonds are formed and sustained, has made an extraordinary contribution to the College.”

The McEnerneys have served as resident deans since the opening of Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons in 2009, living in the residence hall and acting as intellectual stewards for students residing in Cathey, Crown, Jannotta and Wendt Houses. Together with the resident heads and resident assistants, they have organized enriching programming and traditions — ranging from weekly tea study breaks to their annual Orientation Week scavenger hunt and national scholars dinners — that build community and continue to foster students’ curiosity outside the classroom.

As a long-time member of UChicago’s teaching community, Larry also serves as director of university writing programs. His involvement with writing instruction began when he was hired as a graduate student in 1978 to help teach what eventually became the Little Red Schoolhouse writing course. He was asked by the College to create a Writing Program to provide writing instruction to first-year students in the Humanities Core courses and teaching experience for graduate students. Under his leadership, the Writing Program has grown to teach more than 2,000 members of the University community each year to write more effectively for readers in and outside the academy. In addition, Larry is a lecturer in the Humanities and Social Sciences Core. In 1997 he was awarded the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

“We are so much indebted to those who have given us the gift of our life here—the students, of course, but also our many colleagues of the residence and building staffs,” said Larry. “We have been every day showered by their kindness and their friendship.”

During her tenure as resident dean, Cathe has also been the president of the American Needlepoint Guild Inc., a board member of Brent House, UChicago’s Episcopal campus ministry, and a board member of Bishop Anderson House at Rush Medical Center.  She is also a stitcher, designer and teacher of needle arts.

“When we first thought about becoming RDs, it was the chance to touch the lives of students that attracted me most,” said Cathe. “What I have discovered is that it is they who have touched my life—enriching and transforming it tremendously in the years that we have spent here on campus.”

The McEnerneys will be succeeded by John Flynn, chief physician and dean of clinical affairs in the Biological Sciences Division, and Monica Flynn.