Dr. Larry M. Robbins, a retired English professor in SAS, died on April 28, 2013, at home after a long illness. He was 74.
Dr. Robbins was born on December 12, 1938, in Denver, Colorado, and earned his BA from Harvard University in 1961. After earning his master's from the University of Wisconsin in 1962, he attended the University of California-Berkeley, where he obtained his PhD in 1969. He wrote his dissertation, which was later published by Elsevier, on Thomas Dekker, an English Renaissance writer. In 1967, Dr. Robbins joined the faculty of the English department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1975, he was asked to create a communications program for the Wharton School so that business students could become better writers and speakers. In 1985, he published a seminal book, The Business of Writing and Speaking (McGraw Hill) that has been reprinted numerous times.
He also pioneered an undergraduate Arts Management program where students from the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences could learn from renowned leaders of orchestras, theaters and operas. In his last decade at the University, Dr. Robbins created one of the first Teacher Development Programs in the country, training PhD candidates and professors in every school and department of the University to become more effective classroom teachers. He retired in 2007.
Dr. Robbins moved to the Berkshires with his wife, Wendy, five years ago, after teaching at Penn for 41 years. Here, he became an instant participant in the arts community, teaching Shakespeare and other literature courses for the Osher LifeLong Learning Institute. He co-chaired the Distinguished Speaker Series for OLLI and also consulted with the Barrington Stage Company, as his passion for concerts, lectures, operas and plays never waned.
In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Robbins served on the boards of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and Main Line Reform Temple Beth Elohim, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and taught seminars for the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia. He was an active member of Hevreh of Southern Berkshire.
Dr. Robbins is survived by his wife, Wendy; and his daughter, Elizabeth.