Hayes created a humanities program in Manila that emulated Chicago’s
Albert M. Hayes, Professor Emeritus in English Language & Literature, died Wednesday, July 14, at his home in Hyde Park. He was 94. He had lived in Hyde Park since 1943, when he came to teach humanities to undergraduates in the College.
Students from those days remember the “magical meticulousness” with which he took material from their reading and carefully helped them unfold the meaning within the words, said his daughter, Judith Weir. In 1948, Hayes received a Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Under a Fulbright fellowship, Hayes spent the academic year between 1955 and 1956 with his family at the University of the Philippines in Manila, creating a humanities program that emulated Chicago’s program.
Hayes returned to the University, where he served as registrar and occasionally taught in the Department of English Language & Literature, until he retired in 1978.
Hayes’ commitment to academic life was supplemented by a deep commitment to his church and community. In the 1950s and 1960s he worked with the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference to help stabilize the neighborhood as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic community, Weir said. Hyde Park was organized into block groups that welcomed newcomers and shared information about the community.
He was among a group of citizens who created the Harper Court Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that established a space where small, displaced businesses could continue to serve the community following urban renewal. He was a board member of the foundation for many years and served as its secretary, president and treasurer.
Hayes held many positions at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, from Sunday school teacher to treasurer. He also served as treasurer of the Western Unitarian Conference. He was instrumental in founding Camp Unistar, a Unitarian-Universalist family camp on Star Island in Minnesota.
Hayes, who moved to Montgomery Place in Hyde Park with his wife, Alice, was active within that residential community. Hayes and his wife also co-authored a book with several other residents titled In It Together about the first 10 years of Montgomery Place.
A native of Milwaukee, Hayes received an A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1930, and a Ph.D. in 1933 from Princeton University. He taught at Duquesne University and Bowling Green State University before joining the Chicago faculty. His specialties were poetry and criticism.
Hayes’ first wife, Elizabeth, died 25 years ago. In addition to his daughter, Weir, who is of St. Paul, Minn., he is survived by his second wife, Alice; his son, Knox, of Arlington, Va.; four grandchildren; four great grandchildren; four stepchildren; and nine step-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Ragdale Foundation (1260 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, Ill. 60045) or the First Unitarian Church of Chicago (5650 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60637).