Skip to main content

Loyola celebrates the life of Paul Lukacs, Ph.D., associate professor emeritus of English

Paul Lukacs, Ph.D.

Paul Lukacs, Ph.D., associate professor emeritus of English, passed away on June 15, 2021. He was 65. 

Lukacs began teaching at Loyola in 1981 while he was still a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. In 1984 he was named assistant professor of English and was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1991. Lukacs specialized in American literature. While at Loyola he co-chaired the University’s successful Phi Beta Kappa application, directed the Honors Program, served on the Board of Rank and Tenure, directed the Leuven program and Center for the Humanities, served on Loyola Conference, and chaired the English department for 18 years.

“Paul’s impact on Loyola was enormous,” said Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences and professor of theology. “His involvement and contributions at the University only tell a small part of Paul’s deep commitment to Loyola and its flourishing. Through his work, Paul displayed his passion for the life of the mind as well as his deep grace and good humor.”

Lukacs earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. As an internationally known writer, Lukacs wrote three books about the history of wine, American Vintage (2000), The Great Wines of America (2005), and Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures (2012). He earned a James Beard, Cliquot, and IACP awards for his work. Lukacs was also a successful restaurant consultant and had judged wine competitions all around the globe. Lukacs retired from Loyola in 2020 and continued his passion for wine and history through his regular columns on Wine Review Online—which he helped launch in 2013. 

“I had the great and unique good fortune of working shoulder to shoulder with Paul in both of his careers,” said Michael Franz, Ph.D., professor of political science. “For more than 30 years, Paul and I learned together, raised children together (my 28-year-old daughter has never called him anything other than “Uncle Paul”), argued about politics and history together, played tennis together, fought together to maintain excellence at our university, tasted more than 48,000 wines together in our shared consulting business, spent every New Year’s Eve together, and flew all over the world together—taking the greatest possible pleasure in the company of one another. Paul didn't have a brother, and neither did I, but he was such a marvelous friend that I know no brother could have been his equal for me.”

Richard Boothby, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, remembers Lukacs for his mentorship and dedication to Loyola.

“It’s hard to overstate the immense affection I felt for Paul Lukacs over the 34 years of our friendship, a friendship as deep and multi-faceted as any I have ever had,” said Boothby. “Yet I also cannot say enough about the value of Paul’s example as a professional colleague. Though two years younger than me, he began teaching at Loyola six years prior to my own arrival, and he was my greatest mentor both in the art of educating young people and in the even more challenging art of being a department chair.  Paul Lukacs had it all and gave it all.”

A memorial service will be held for Lukacs on Friday, Sept. 10, at 3 p.m. in Loyola’s Alumni Memorial Chapel.