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Jay Halio and Diane Isaacs

Jay and DianeDr. Jay L. Halio arrived at University of Delaware in 1968 to teach Shakespeare courses in the English Department. Charles Bonner, a classmate and friend of his from Syracuse University, had been teaching at UD for many years and encouraged Jay to join the UD faculty. In those days, Dr. E. Arthur Trabant was President of the University and UD needed a new Shakespeare professor. It was perfect timing for Jay, who had just returned from completing a Fulbright Senior lectureship in Malaysia. He was ready to make a move from the University of California, Davis, where he had been teaching for thirteen years.

Jay recalled how “Delaware worked its magic” when he was on campus in Newark for interviews. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Jay decided to make the move back east, where he remarked “more of the scholarly action was taking place.”

“It was a good move professionally; the challenges at UD were greater than at UC Davis, and the schools were about the same size, 6,000 undergrads and 1,500 grad students,” Jay remembers. “Returning to the east coast in 1968 gave one the opportunity to get professionally involved, and we worked hard to help build the University of Delaware.”

Forty-two years later, now Professor Emeritus in English, Jay lives in Newark with his wife, Dr. Diane Isaacs. They met at a conference. Originally from Washington, DC, Diane was an adjunct professor in the English Department specializing in Holocaust studies as well as in the History Department doing student teacher supervision. Diane and Jay have been active in the Jewish Studies Program, where Jay serves on the Jewish Studies executive committee.

Jay’s first love is teaching. He taught full time at UD until 2003. During his tenure, he directed University of Delaware Press and served as chairperson of the editorial board from 1984 to 1996. Today UD Press publishes forty books a year. Its major strengths are in literary studies, especially Shakespeare, Renaissance and Early Modern Literature, as well as eighteenth-century studies; French Literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; art history and history; and historical and cultural studies of Delaware and the Eastern Shore. In honor of his service to UD Press, the Jay L. Halio Prize in Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies was established to award an outstanding manuscript to the Press.

Diane and Jay share their love of UD and travel. The couple spent last winter session in London, where Jay led a full group of twenty-three UD students for the English and Theatre studies winter session. Diane and Jay enjoy attending Professional Theatre Training Program/Resident Ensemble Players (PTTP/REP) performances (Jay served as chair of the search committee that recruited Sandy Robbins to get PTTP up and running).

Diane and Jay decided to establish two charitable gift annuities (CGA) with University of Delaware because “Delaware treated us well, and we wanted to reciprocate with our gift to UD.” As Jay explained, “It was a win-win situation. A charitable gift annuity offers a good tax break, good income, and helps the University achieve its mission.”

They feel that a charitable gift annuity provides the opportunity to make a gift with significant return on investment. Their gift to UD provides them with guaranteed income for life and the knowledge that they will leave a legacy for the programs that are most meaningful to them. Their gift will benefit the Jewish Studies Program, UD Press, PTTP, and the Morris Library. Just as the applied sciences have their labs, the literary arts have the library. “We support the Library because it is our lab; without it, we don’t exist,” Diane says. Jay also has CGAs at his alma mater, Syracuse University, and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. In addition, Diane and Jay have a CGA at the U.S, Holocaust Museum.

“We give to UD because education is vitally important to our state and nation. We need to support every aspect of the University’s mission as much as we can.”

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