Amy Rupiper Taggart, professor of English, died June 13. She was 43.
The funeral was held Saturday, June 24, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Moorhead, Minnesota.
Taggart was beloved by students and colleagues across campus for her wisdom, generosity and compassion and deeply respected for her leadership and scholarship.
“Amy had a deep and abiding passion for life, for learning and for social justice,” said Kent Sandstrom, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Amy was an intensely curious person who believed in the value of higher education, particularly for helping people to become more aware of and engaged in the world around them. You could always count on Amy to ask important and thought-provoking questions. You could also count on her to call out the best in herself, her students, and her colleagues. She will be sorely missed.”
Taggart earned her bachelor’s degree in English and German from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She earned her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in composition and rhetoric, from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
She joined the NDSU Department of English in 2002 as assistant professor. During her NDSU career, Taggart played a significant role in shaping programs in her department.
“Amy was a central voice in developing the major, the writing programs and the doctoral program,” said Betsy Birmingham, chair of the English department, in an April 2017 Spectrum article. “In part due to her work, the writing program and its assessment just won our campus’s award for program assessment.”
She held several leadership positions on campus, including associate chair of the English department, president of Faculty Senate, director of First-year Writing, director of General Education and associate director of the Office of Teaching and Learning.
She served as a member of the executive committee for FORWARD – Focus on Resources for Women’s Advancement, Recruitment/Retention and Development.
Taggart was an accomplished scholar. She wrote a textbook titled “Research Matters” and co-edited several books. She also published many peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters focused on teaching and writing.
“Amy was such a caring, supportive and brilliant teacher, scholar and human,” said Celena Todora, a 2016 graduate who triple-majored in English, English education and international studies. “From the moment I met her six years ago, she extended me so much guidance, support, and friendship. In any given conversation, she always had an insightful comment and the time to be present in the moment. She consistently went above and beyond as a professor. She mentored me on three different projects (two of them simultaneous), carving out an hour from her schedule weekly to provide me support and guidance. From her suggestion to double major to her thoughtful recommendation letter for my doctoral applications, Amy opened so many doors for me, and likely many other students. I will forever look to Amy as a role model.”