Ralph M. Tutt Jr., formerly of East Greenwich and Narragansett, R.I., a URI professor emeritus who taught literature and film studies for 31 years, died Feb. 5.
A veteran of the Korean War, Tutt served the U.S. Army as a radio operator and elementary school instructor in Erlangen, Germany from 1955-57.
A native Floridian, Tutt received his early education at schools in Quincy and Tampa. He held degrees from four American universities, receiving his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1964.
At Duke, he was awarded a James B. Duke Fellowship. In 1979, he was awarded a post doctoral fellowship at Harvard University.
His critical essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of journals. The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities honored him with a prize for his novella, “Family Plots,” in 1967.
In 1987, he received a William J. Fulbright Fellowship to initiate an American Studies Program at Janus Pannonious University in Hungary. Tutt, known to his boyhood friends in the Florida Panhandle as “Steamboat Bill” and “Bubba,” was instrumental in bringing the Ph.D. program in English to URI.
He is perhaps best remembered there as a pioneer of the film studies program, which awarded its first undergraduate degree in June 2006.
He is survived by his son. Oliver R. Tutt; sister, Maryann Simon; and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were held in E. Greenwich. Donations may be sent to the URI Foundation for an endowment to the film studies program.
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