Diana Patricia Curran, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies and a professor at Fordham for two decades, passed away on Jan. 22 at her home in Newport, R.I.
Curran, 71, died after a brief bout with ovarian cancer, according to her son, Joe.
She was a graduate teaching associate in the Department of Photography and Cinema at Ohio State University before coming to Fordham in 1978. In addition to her role as associate professor of communication, she was the director of the department’s film program until she retired in 1997.
In 1982, she was appointed assistant chair of the department. She soon became the acting chair and was promoted to permanent chair in the 1985-1986 academic year. She taught classes on film, criticism, screenwriting and production, and wrote several papers about film as well as critiques of current films.
An active member in the New York Film Council, she published Financing Your Film: A Guide for Independent Filmmakers and Producers (Praeger Publishers, 1986) and A New Note on the Film: A Theory of Film Criticism Derived From Susanne K. Langer’s Philosophy of Art(Arno Press, 1980).
Curran made films, too, such as 1977’s Strength Through Struggle, a documentary about the labor movement in Ohio.
“When I was young child, we did a lot of film projects, and I never thought about what was driving her, it was just fun,” Joe Curran said. “Film was just a step along the journey for her.”
Curran said that his mother retired partly because chronic laryngitis made it difficult to teach. Instead, she pursued a law degree and eventually worked as a mediator in Florida.
On the memorial webpage he created, Curran called her a mother, filmmaker, professor, sailor, captain, adventurer, thinker, writer and critic.
“She was a student and teacher of literature, history, astrology, law and philosophy. She endeavored to live a better life, to create a better existence for others, to define and refine what it meant to be human,” he said.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Channing Unitarian Church in Newport R.I. More information can be found here.