Dan Leidig’s Lasting Legacy

by Billy Chandler

For alumni of a certain age, the name Leidig strikes many notes: reverence, affection, and maybe just a hint of fear and trembling.

Dr. Dan Leidig served Emory & Henry in a variety of roles – including Dean of the College – but he was best known and revered as a professor of English. He received his undergraduate degree from Emory & Henry in 1950, then completed his master’s degree at Vanderbilt University. His PhD is from Florida State University. He taught at Emory & Henry for 30 years.

His love of language and English was evident in all his teaching. And he was a published and celebrated poet. His students knew him as a caring teacher, but also one who didn’t suffer laziness. One of his oft-quoted expressions could be heard when a student came to him with lame excuses for a late paper or an unfinished project: “My child, my child, there is such suffering in the world.”

Dr. Leidig’s legacy is maintained at Emory & Henry through more than memory; his name is also attached to three different endowed funds.

In the 1960s a scholarship was established by Dan and his siblings (Rev. Sam Leidig (E&H 1940), Rev. Milton Leidig, Virginia Leidig Sutherland (E&H 1944), to remember their parents. The Arta Evans and D.G. Leidig, Sr. Scholarship benefits a student planning for a career in the church.

In 1992, former E&H President Bill Finch and wife Lucy endowed the Daniel G. Leidig Fund to be used to fund the college’s annual literary festival and pay for the related journal, The Iron Mountain Review.

In 1996, The Daniel Leidig Lectureship in Poetry was established in honor of Dan by former E&H librarian, Helen Power, and former E&H student, Harriette Mooring Horner (an honor graduate in the E&H Class of 1990).

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