David B. Kesterson, 81, of Denton, who served as provost and vice president for academic affairs among his many positions in nearly four decades of service to UNT, died March 12.
He taught at North Carolina State University before joining the English faculty at North Texas in 1968 and later was chair of the English department and associate, acting and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He was named vice provost and associate vice president for academic affairs in 1993 and served as provost and vice president from 1998 to 2003. He then was named special assistant to the president for humanities and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2007.
An expert on 19th century literature, he wrote books and journal articles on American authors and co-founded and served as president of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society. He specialized in American humor and served as president of the American Humor Studies Association. In 1985, he received a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to teach courses in English and American literature at the University of Wurzburg in Germany.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Arkansas. Growing up in Missouri inspired his love for Mark Twain and humor. In his youth, he was a percussionist and, as a retiree, he frequently attended College of Music performances. He also was a member of the President’s Council.
Survivors include his wife, Cheryl, and sons Aubry (’89, ’89 M.S.) and Chad (’98). His memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. March 30 at DeBerry Funeral Directors. Memorials in his name may be made to the Department of English or College of Music.