UNCW students, staff mourn loss of professor: ‘It’s a shattering blow to the department’

UNCW students, staff mourn loss of professor: ‘It’s a shattering blow to the department’

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The doors outside Phil Furia’s office in Kenan Hall at UNCW are littered with letters thanking him for his amazing teaching style, humble nature, and general love for his students. It’s easy to see Furia had a profound impact on the Creative Writing department at UNCW.

Phil Furia's door at UNCW is littering with condolence messages from students and staff (Source: WECT)
Phil Furia's door at UNCW is littering with condolence messages from students and staff (Source: WECT)

“It’s a shattering blow to our department, so unexpected. His loss certainly fills up the room,” said Philip Gerard, creative writing professor who worked alongside Furia for 23 years.

Furia, 75, died on April 3.

“It’s been tough. Phil was a classy guy. He was old school all the way, the sort of person that never took it easy, he always did more than his fair share, he was a real example of service leadership,” Gerard explained.

Furia not only was a prolific writing but he chaired the English Department at UNCW, and was the founding chair of the university’s Creative Writing department and Film Studies program.

“He had a tremendous humility. He was a warm guy with lots of stories, he was just beloved and was integral to everything we have done in this department,” Gerard said.

Furia was also known for his appearances on the show The Great American Songbook. He also authored more than a dozen books, mainly biographies, about songwriters.

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