Boyd, Beverly

Boyd, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Beverly Boyd
  • Internationally recognized expert on Chaucer
  • 2005: received Department of English’s Mabel S. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2000: Millenium Medal of Honor from the American Biographical Institute
  • 1969-1970: Guggenheim Fellowship to work on one of her four published books
  • 1997: Worked to have Ipswich, England the tavern owned by Chaucer’s family in Ipswich, recognized as a historic landmark

Beverly M Boyd, Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas for 45 years, was an outstanding educator and remains an internationally-recognized scholar at Middle English and Chaucer.  As one student noted, “her pedagogical excellence, her deep and historical leadership on our campus, and her committed and self-effacing work in developing students” make Professor Boyd a truly exemplary educator.

Dr. Boyd joined the KU faculty in 1961 and rose to full professorship in 1968.  Prior to KU, she earned her BA at Brooklyn College and her MA and PhD degrees from Columbia University.

In 1963, she published her first book, The Middle English Miracles of the Virgin, and released Chaucer and Liturgy in 1968.  Dr. Boyd left KU on sabbatical for the 1969-1970 school year on a Guggenheim Fellowhsip to work on her third book, Chaucer and the World of Books.  Her lifelong work was presented in a book entitledChaucer According to William Caxton; Caxton printed the first edition of Chaucer’sCanterbury Tales and several of his other works 500 years ago.  In 1997, Dr. Boyd was invited to the commemoration ceremony in Ipswich, England of the tavern owned by Chaucer’s family after she had worked diligently to have the site recognized as a historic landmark.  She is known across the world for her excellence in Chaucer scholarship.  One graduate student noted that upon attending the International Chaucer Congress and mentioning they were from the University of Kansas, the other participants “immediately asked of Professor Boyd…[they] offered praise for her scholarship and delight that I was able to study with her.”  In 2000, she received the Millenium Medal of Honor from the American Biographical Institute for her work. 

Lest one think that she was only consumed with Chaucer, in 1988, Dr. Boyd set out to research the newest Catholic saint, Phillipine Duchesne.  Saint Duchesne came out of her retirement at the age of 72 to work with Missouri and Kansas Potawatomi Indians near Mound City in 1841.  She received Sainthood for this work, although she considered it a failure.

In 2005, her work as an outstanding educator and as an excellent graduate student mentor was recognized with the Department of English’s Mabel S. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence.  In her nomination for this award, one student endorsed: “There was never a moment in class when I believed that Professor Boyd was anything less than an expert on her subject matter.  She says of Chaucer that he makes his craft look easy, which is the mark of a genius.  This can be said of her as well: she made medieval literature seem easy, when in fact I was receiving an extraordinary deep and broad education.  The strength of her worldly ranking in academia is not one that she wears on her sleeve.  Her classroom style, open lecture with ongoing interchanges with ongoing students, is a useful vehicle to disseminate the lifetime of knowledge that this internationally recognized scholar embodies… [she] made the distinct era of Middle English come alive.”

Professor Boyd retired from the University in May 2007 after 45 years of service. 

  • Never give up, you CAN do it!

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