Dr. John Michael Bugge, Professor Emeritus of English at Emory University, died on November 5, 2018 of injuries sustained in a cycling accident. He was 77 years old. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Bugge graduated with a B.A. in English from Marquette University in 1963 and spent a year studying at the University of Tübingen on a Fulbright Fellowship. As a Danforth Fellow, he completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in English at Harvard University in 1970. Before completing his doctorate, he was hired as a medievalist in Emory University’s Department of English, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses and supervised doctoral theses for 43 years. He also directed and taught in Emory’s British Studies Abroad Program at Oxford University and acted in 17 Theatre Emory productions. A brilliant and beloved teacher and mentor to generations of Emory students, he twice won Emory College’s Distinguished Professor Award and received the student-driven Crystal Apple Award. He also co-founded Emory’s Emeritus College and, after retiring in 2011, chaired its Executive Board and served on the boards of statewide and national associations of retirement organizations in higher education, winning Emory’s Distinguished Emeritus Award in 2013. During his retirement, Dr. Bugge continued to contribute by providing interview training to Emory pre-med students; by mentoring Emory faculty; by giving time and energy to multiple civic and charitable causes; and by serving on the board of Atlanta’s branch of the Robert Burns Club. His integrity, wisdom, wit, generosity, and warmth were an inspiration to all who knew him. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, in Cannon Chapel at Emory University. Dr. Bugge is survived by his wife of 30 years, Liza Davis, by his brother, Lawrence Bugge, by sons Eric Emmons and Stefan Bugge, by daughter-in-law Katrina Kropa, and by grandsons Aidan and Aubrey Emmons.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline


  1. Dr. Bugge offered me a warm welcome to Emory’s PhD program in 1992. I loved his affable but rigorous teaching in a Chaucer seminar. He later went on to sit as one of five members on my Orals committee and gave me much needed support during my dissertation, although it was outside his area. He was a model professor for me, one whose warmth has helped shape my career as an educator.

  2. Though I never worked with him directly as a graduate student, Dr. Bugge was kind to me, and I appreciated his good humor in department gatherings I attended. It was clear that he cared deeply about teaching, and about the work of literary study. I offer my condolences to his family and friends.

  3. John Bugge was an inspiring teacher and a gracious mentor. His intellectual interests were broad and deep, and his classes were of immense importance in preparing me for a career in teaching and scholarship. He was both a mentor and a friend, and I am grateful to have known him. I send my condolences to his family and friends.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook