Sunday, December 29, 2013

David Keller: In Memorium

DAVID RICHARD KELLER (12/17/62-12/28/13)

David Richard Keller was born on a snowy morning in Salt Lake City, December 17, 1962, to proud parents JoAnn Olson Keller and Richard Hubbard Keller and spent his early life in the Olympus Cove and Neffs Canyon. David was extremely close with family members Dick and JoAnn and Peter and Christena, having a formative adolescence exploring the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the peaks of the Wasatch Range. He attended Skyline High School and began taking Philosophy courses at the University of Utah and Pitzer College. David earned a double-baccalaureate in English and Philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College, a master in Philosophy at Boston College, and a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Georgia. David also matriculated at the University of Edinburgh. During this period, David attended 183 Grateful Dead and 36 Jerry Garcia Band concerts. This period catalyzed a penchant for travel: David traversed 49 United States (omitting North Dakota) and 39 countries. At age 34, David secured an assistant professorship at Utah Valley University, eventually serving as Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Environmental Studies, and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics. The single best decision that David ever made was marriage to Anina Merrill on a sunny October 1, 1994 afternoon in Rockville, Utah. Anina and David were introduced at the earliest age by their young mothers/best friends. Perhaps this underlay Anina and David’s natural ease with one another. Anina and David chose not to have children, forming the nuclear family on the pair. Anina and David lived in Hawaii and Utah, and reveled in traveling the world together--southeast Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore), Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East (Egypt and Sinai, Jerusalem, Jordan, Turkey), Greece, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Demark, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Alaska. Toward the end of his life, David lived with Anina in downtown Salt Lake City and taught at UVU. The greatest joy of his career was coming in contact with students and learning about the world together. Throughout his life, David strove to cherish elemental human relationships, embrace the temporal flow, find inspiration in sublimity and reject super-naturalism, and worry only about those things actually in one’s control. He succumbed to cancers resulting from complications of the treatment of Hodgkin’s Disease with radiation thirty years earlier. David considered adenocarcinoma beyond one’s control. The important thing for David upon his death is that those intervening years were full of the exhuburant and enthusiastic embrace of life. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother JoAnn.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our decision to rename the UVU chapter of the AAUP in honor of David Keller is meant as a statement about a tradition David helped establish and that he has kept viable for a decade and a half.

One highlight in this history was David's work to bring Cary Nelson, then President of the National AAUP, to campus. Cary spoke forcefully and intelligently to audiences that included AAUP members, members of the UVU Senate, members of the faculty, students, and most of the UVU Administration. Discourse about academic freedom will never be the same on our campus.

Most significant, however, has been David's work in behalf of members of the UVU faculty who, variously, have been denied due process in decisions of tenure and promotion and dismissal. In the name of our chapter, David argued various cases skillfully and forcefully. For those whose cases were reheard and for whom positive decisions resulted, this was critical intervention. And even those cases that were lost were meaningful as they further established the principle that questionable decisions will be challenged.

Our chapter proudly continues this tradition of shared governance, of faculty solidarity, of due process, and most essentially, of academic freedom.