Retirement of Professor Richard Fine

May 6, 2021

Headshot of Richard FineRichard A. Fine, Professor of English, will retire from VCU on September 1 after 42 years.

Richard joined the department as an Assistant Professor after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in American Studies. During his many years of teaching, Richard put his interdisciplinary training to excellent use in his teaching, offering everything from courses in American literature (including contemporary American literature, American writers in Paris, and the American short story), to film courses (Reading Film, Fiction into Film), as well as courses in American studies (American Character and Culture, and the Hollywood Novel). Richard was also a key figure in the planning and teaching of courses in the MATX program and directed our minor in American Studies. However, Richard’s teaching extended far beyond the halls of Hibbs. He was an early and frequent instructor for VCU’s Commonwealth Society (beginning in 1998), and was also a Professeur Invité at Université de Pau et des pays de l'Adour, Pau and Institut d'Anglais, Université de Caen. 

His research focused on the profession of authorship, copyright and intellectual property, and the American film industry which he discussed in James M. Cain and the American Authors' Authority and Hollywood and the Profession of Authorship, 1928-1940 (reprinted by the Smithsonian Institute Press with a new preface as West of Eden: Hollywood and the Profession of Authorship). Most recently, he has focused on media and the military, and his third monograph, The Kennedy Affair: The Media-Military Battle at the End of the Second World War, will be published by Cornell University Press next year. He is also the author of more than thirty additional publications including journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and articles in reference works. A former Fulbright, Richard’s work was funded by the NEH and the Ford Foundation.

In addition to his achievements as a teacher and a scholar, Richard also contributed to the administrative structure and operations of the department. Beginning with his role as what was then called “assistant to the chair” through five years as associate chair and two terms as department chair, Richard has been a colleague who gives of his time generously and with grace. He served on major committees at the university and college level including the University Tenure and Promotion Appeal Committee, which he chaired, the College’s Tenure and Promotion Committee, and VCU’s Institutional Review Board (since 2000). Whether as the University’s representative to the Yale National Initiative/Richmond Teachers Institute (since 2007) or serving on one of fourteen tenure and promotion committees, Richard conscientiously offered his knowledge, insights, and experience. He volunteered readily or, when asked, rarely refused to serve. His collaborative spirit, loyalty, and dedication to the greater good of the institution (both the department and university as a whole) is a valuable commodity that will be greatly missed.

We congratulate Richard on his new opportunity to enjoy retirement, but we will feel the loss of his sage counsel, pragmatic advice, and great good humor.

If you would like to reach out to offer congratulations and well-wishes to Richard, you can reach him by email at