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Former Westmont Professor Arthur Lynip Dies at Age 97

He was the college's first faculty member to be named a distinguished professor

Arthur Lynip, a former Westmont College emeritus distinguished professor of English, died Jan. 16 in North Carolina at age 97.

Arthur Lynip
Arthur Lynip

He taught at Westmont from 1967-77 and left an enduring legacy as an outstanding scholar, dedicated teacher and committed Christian.

John Sider, emeritus distinguished professor of English, said Lynip’s teaching and personal style deeply endeared him to students.

“Faculty and students alike valued his wisdom and admired his trenchant wit,” Sider said. “His influence at Westmont was truly remarkable in proportion to the single decade of his stay.”

Lynip graduated from Houghton College in New York and earned a master’s degree in sociology and English and a doctorate in language development from New York University.

He taught English literature at Bryan College in Tennessee for three years and at two New York high schools for three years before serving as a high school principal for five years. In 1950 he returned to Houghton as a professor of English and academic dean, a position he held until 1966.

At Westmont, Lynip served one year as interim dean of faculty (1970-71) and chaired the English and modern languages department for several years.

In 1972, he pioneered the college’s England semester. During the 1974 trip, Lynip and his students learned by chance that they could purchase a wardrobe C.S. Lewis owned that closely matched the one described in his famous children’s book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They brought the celebrated wardrobe to campus in 1975, and it remained in the English Department until 2008, when it became part of a five-year touring exhibit related to the Narnia films. The wardrobe will return to Westmont in 2013.

Lynip, the teacher of the year in 1970, was the first Westmont faculty member to be named distinguished professor, an honor since held by only a handful of professors. Houghton College awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1975.

A memorial service on Jan. 19 at Carmel Presbyterian Church, in Charlotte, N.C., honored Lynip, as will a service at Houghton Wesleyan Church in Houghton, N.Y., this Sunday, Jan. 23.

“He loved the Lord, he loved literature and he loved students,” said Paul Delaney, who joined the English faculty in 1972. “And he delighted in deepening students’ relationship with literature and with the Lord. Arthur Lynip left us a legacy to cherish, to celebrate and to strive to emulate. All who remember him will miss him mightily.”

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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