Dr. Virginia Kathryn "Kay" McClanahan, 68, professor and chair of the Department of English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages, died June 14.
A native of Arlington, Virginia:
- She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts (Theatre) in 1967 at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, North Carolina.
- She earned a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics at the American University in 1982.
- She earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997.
Dr. McClanahan worked for 15 years in the field of trade association management in Washington, D.C., advancing to the position of vice president for administration at The Proprietary Association, the trade association that represented over-the-counter drug manufacturers..
Dr. McClanahan's research interests took her from the University of Illinois to Seoul, Korea, where she worked on the interaction of grammar and pragmatics in negation in the Korean language. She had planned to study and teach in Korea for one year, but life in Seoul proved interesting so she stayed for twelve years and taught in the English Department of Yonsei University.
While there, she edited the English translation of the official Korean government History of the Korean War, for which she received a commendation from the Minister of National Defense.
She was co-translator of a book of selected poems by Chi Whan Yoo, published by St. Andrews Press.
The interaction of grammar and pragmatics in Korean continued to be her research interest along with the importance of cultural identity as a factor in successful second language learning.
In 1999 after returning from Korea and settling in Laurinburg she joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
In addition to chairing the department, Dr. McClanahan coordinated the speech program and the English as a Second Language program. She received the UNCP Outstanding Teaching Award in 2005.
Dr. McClanahan served on numerous UNCP committees and chaired the Faculty and Institutional Affairs Committee, the Faculty Governance Committee, and the Faculty Senate.
She was a member of the Thursday Afternoon Book Club and the Bookmark Book Club as well as the Scotland County Democratic Women.
A memorial service was held June 21 at the McDougald Funeral Home and Crematorium Chapel in Laurinburg officiated by the Rev. Linda Nelson.
McDougald Funeral Home contributed to this article. Photo courtesy of McDougald Funeral Home.