It is with profound sadness that we share the news that on Saturday, May 16, 2020, Clancy Taylor, a second-year graduate student in the English Ph.D. program, died unexpectedly. Clancy’s death is a devastating loss that touches us all but especially the students in their(1.) cohort and their many close friends and teachers. Clancy entered the Ph.D. program in English with a planned specialization in comparative modernist literature and continental philosophy.

This wide-ranging intellectual curiosity drew them to interdisciplinary pursuits and collaborations in a wide range of areas, among them the Certificate in Critical Cultural Theory. Clancy was a Diana Hobby Fellow for the journal Studies in English Literature, and they were one of the team recipients of a George R. Brown Teaching Grant to develop the “Curated Digital Archive: Race-Making across the Medieval/Modern Divide”. Clancy also was one of the lead organizers of “Working With: Interdisciplinary English Symposium” that aimed to provide an opportunity for students across disciplines to present and develop ongoing work and to foster stronger collaborative bonds across the university.

Many students and faculty knew Clancy’s characteristic kindness, warmth and flair from classes and campus life or from Clancy’s service to the Humanities Graduate Student Association where they were an active member and served on the 2019-20 HGSA Executive Board. Known for their quick wit and charm, Clancy was always willing to lend a helping hand to someone in need. An avid reader and accomplished guitarist, they enjoyed hanging out with their close-knit Rice cohort and spending time with extended family in Texas and Wisconsin during school breaks.

As a memorial, Clancy’s family has generously established The Clancy Taylor Fund for graduate students in English. A website is being prepared, and in a day or so donations from faculty and others may be made online at or designated to The Clancy Taylor Fund and mailed to: Rice University Development MS-81, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX  77251-1892.

We want to remind you that emotional support is available. The Wellbeing and Counseling Center at Rice has skilled counselors for students. Their 24/7 number is 713-348-3311. Faculty and staff may contact a UTEAP consultant at 713-500-3327 or toll-free at 800-346-3549 for support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In this time of sadness, and with the extraordinary social distancing those here in Houston are still practicing, we hope you can reach out safely to comfort one another. Clancy made deep impressions on all who knew them as a kind and caring friend and a generous colleague. They will be sorely missed by us all.
With heavy hearts,
Kathleen Canning
Dean, School of Humanities
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History

Rosemary Hennessy
Chair, Department of English
L. H. Favrot Professor of Humanities


1. Clancy identified as gender nonbinary and used the pronouns they/them/theirs