SCAN has been informed that the founder of Lancaster University’s Linguistics and English Language department, Geoffrey Leech, has died.
Professor Leech, who began his time at Lancaster in 1969 as one of the English Department’s first language specialists, founded the Linguistics department in 1974 and is credited as being fundamental in its development. The department is now ranked ninth in the world by the QS World University Rankings.
Leech was born in 1936 and, having studied and taught at University College London, spent the majority of his academic career at Lancaster. He retired from his role as Head of the Linguistics Department in 1996. He died on August 19 2014.
In an online tribute to Leech, current Head of the Department of Lingustics and English Language, Greg Myers, said: “Colleagues, students, and collaborators remember Geoff as enormously encouraging and supportive; he helped launch many careers. He was remarkable in his modesty (a topic he considered in his studies of pragmatics), especially for someone so widely renowned in his field.
“But he also had the self-confidence to pursue huge, long-term projects until the rest of the field could see their value. And he could be fiercely angry if he thought an injustice was being done.
“For departmental colleagues, the intellectual loss is incalculable,” Myers said.
The Linguistics and English Language Department will be holding a Memorial Event to Leech during Michaelmas Term.