house on a hill in France

A Message from the Faculty Director of Academic Programs: In Memoriam of Continuing Lecturer James McElroy

Jim McElroy, Continuing Lecturer from the University Writing Program and long-term Study Abroad Faculty Leader, passed away on July 3, 2021. 

Jim joined UC Davis as a writing faculty in the early 1990s. A charismatic instructor, Jim breathed fire and passion in his Summer Abroad program, first offered in 2005. While he had originally focused the program on Irish literature and nature taking students to Ireland, Jim, visionary that he was, re-imagined the program many times over the years and offered many "translations."

Its most recent version was a multi-country program, Celtic Connections, that showcased what Jim called the "Celtic strain—in literature, culture, language, music, and politics" that traverses Ireland, Spain, and France.

Jim was a wonderful teacher who was beloved by his Summer Abroad students who found the program exciting, challenging, and hugely rewarding—and he loved and cared for his students deeply. 15 years after he first started teaching for Study Abroad, Jim still brought the same excitement and passion to his program and the same profound respect and care for his students.

A native of Ireland, with a distinct and commanding voice, a born conversationalist in the long tradition of Irish storytellers, Jim was a real human being who lived his life fully: warm, funny, engaging, and deeply caring. He loved his family passionately and was fiercely proud of his three daughters—and he had forged strong friendships within the University Writing Program and Study Abroad.

His many friends and colleagues in the University Writing Program and Global Affairs already miss Jim terribly—but, we know that his spirit will live in his family, his students whose lives he touched, and in the memories of those whose lives he entered.

Aliki Dragona

Faculty Director – Academic Programs, Global Learning Hub, Global Affairs
Continuing Lecturer, University Writing Program
University of California, Davis

Messages from Students and Staff


UC Davis Summer Abroad was made a more fun, joyful, exciting place because of Jim and his passion for his program. His dedication and loyalty to his students and instilling a love of Celtic culture I'm sure has left a profound impact on many, many students. We'll miss his gregarious energy and excitement. — Dana Armstrong, Global Learning Hub Staff

“He is one of the best college professors I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. Intelligent and hilarious. I could listen to him talk forever.”  — Summer Abroad Europe, Celtic Connections Program Alum

“The program challenged me academically in a subject far from my major, culturally, in each place. Learning how to communicate and behave and professionally learning new writing tips.” — Summer Abroad Europe, Celtic Connections Program Alum

Primary Category