Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

University mourns loss of English professor


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 18, 2005 – Leonard M. Scigaj, of Blacksburg, professor of English, died April 16, 2005. Scigaj joined the Virginia Tech English Department in 1978.

Colleagues valued his forthright and honest approach to issues, his wonderful sense of humor, his dedication to the environment, and his willingness to serve in all kinds of ways. A scholar of contemporary poetry, Scigaj wrote with passion about the great eco-poets. An environmental activist, he dedicated himself to protecting the beauty of the natural world. Scigaj was the author of The Poetry of Ted Hughes: Form and Imagination, Ted Hughes, Critical Essays on Ted Hughes, and Sustainable Poetry: Four American Ecopoets.

Awarded a Virginia Tech Certificate of Teaching Excellence in 1996, Scigaj was a dedicated, energetic, and caring teacher. He hardly ever missed a day of teaching. Many of his students wrote glowing testaments to his skills in the classroom. They marveled especially at the time he would take critiquing their work and offering constructive feedback.

Scigaj received his bachelor's from Canisius College in 1967, his master's and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1968 and 1977, respectively.

Scigaj is survived by his son, James L. Scigaj; his sisters, Christine (Dr. Alberto) Gonzalez, Kathleen (Mario) Anibaldi, Nancy (Gordon) Soehnlein; his brothers, David Scigaj, Kenneth (Theresa) Scigaj, Lawrence (Danna) Scigaj; and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 19, in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Father James Arsenault officiating. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday evening at the McCoy Funeral Home, 150 Country Club Drive, Blacksburg.