Peter Jon Nagourney

From the Start


I was born October 10, 1940 in New York City. After public school and high school, I attended City College of New York, graduating with honors in English. I went to graduate school at the University of Chicago, again studying English, supported by scholarship awards throughout my stay. I received a Fulbright grant and spent a year living in London, researching 18 th century law in the British Museum. After London I was hired to teach English at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Because I hadn’t completed my dissertation, the position ended. After a year spent reading and travelling in California, and completing my Ph.D., I was hired in the English Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. While there I wrote a number of articles on literary, theoretical, and popular culture topics. My popular culture lecture course attracted over 200 students, but when my tenure review came up, these accomplishments were not taken seriously. For additional details about what I did thereafter, see the “Work History” section.

In 1982 I married Reena Liberman; our son Tal was born June 16, 1986, and Micah was born May 13, 1990. At the time we lived in Detroit, in a 1885 house we spent 20 years restoring and gaining historic designation. (See details in the Houses section.) In 1992 we moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this time in a 1912 house that also needed restoration. During the last 10 years of my working career I taught technical communication skills in the Program in Technical Communication at the University of Michigan Engineering College. After I retired in 2014 I established an annual prize to reward the most innovative approaches to engaging engineers in the program.

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