Dr. George D. Gopen
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George Gopen was born in 1945 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After graduating from The Roxbury Latin School in 1963, he studied English and American literature at Brandeis University, with a year at the university of reading in England. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he pursued legal studies at the Harvard Law School, and then pursued a second degree to become an English professor, receiving two degrees simultaneously — the J.D. in 1972 and the Ph.D. in 1975.
Upon graduating, he took a three-year Visiting Assistant Professorship at the University of Utah. There he was asked to create a course in advanced composition for pre-law students. This led to his publishing two law review articles and signing a contract for a legal writing textbook with the West Publishing Company. Thus credentialed as a writing specialist, in 1978 he became the Director of Writing Programs at Loyola University of Chicago.
Between 1980-1990, George was a partner in the writing consultancy Clearlines — together with University of Chicago English professors, Joseph Williams, Gregory Colomb, and Frank Kinahan. In 1985 he was hired by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, to found and direct its first independent University Writing Program. He led a staff of 110 graduate students who taught the freshman writing course and freshman literature seminars. In 1990, he went solo as a writing consultant and then expanded into scientific prose with his protegee, biochemist Judith Swan. The Gopen-Swan partnership produced the acclaimed article, “The Science of Scientific Writing,” which has now been recognized by the journal American Scientist as one of the 36 “Classic Articles” in its 100-year history of publication.
George has authored four books and almost 50 articles on literary analysis, rhetorical analysis, pedagogy, and writing of all kinds, including legal, scientific, and mathematical. He has published a number of book reviews and delivered more than 100 conference presentations. He is best known for having expanded the work begun by his Clearlines group into the Reader Expectation Approach — a radically new way of analyzing and controlling written English. His approach is especially helpful to professionals for whom English is not their first language.
George is an avid golfer and amateur musician. He sings with the Choral Society of Durham and is a past member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He is the Director of the Chamber Arts Society of Durham, a highly respected, 70-year-old society for the presentation of world class chamber music. In 1967, he joined the board of directors of the Massachusetts corporation Bronze Memorial, inc., serving as its president since 1999. He has a son, Xander, born in 1989, a graduate of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and currently a graduate student at York University in Toronto.