By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — The Salem State University community was dealt another blow yesterday as they learned that retired history professor Minor McLain was struck and killed by an MBTA bus in Melrose this week.
McLain, 88, taught at Salem State from 1955 to 1991. The Melrose resident was a World War II veteran, former prisoner of war and recipient of a Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star.
The news of McLain’s death comes as the university mourns 2009 graduate Sean Collier, an MIT campus police officer who was killed in the line of duty April 18. Students and faculty plan to gather Monday afternoon to celebrate Collier’s life.
The fatal crash involving an MBTA bus occurred at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Melrose. MaryBeth Long, spokeswoman for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office, confirmed yesterday the accident victim was McLain.
Long declined to release further details, as the crash remains under investigation.
Salem State officials said McLain was instrumental in the naming of Veteran’s Memorial Hall on Salem State’s North campus.
“I had (McLain) for Western civilization during my freshman year,” said James Glynn, assistant director of university relations. “I thought right away he was a genius, and I struggled to keep up with his high-energy lectures. He made me realize I wasn’t in high school any more.”
McLain, a native of Leonia, N.J., served in the Army’s 14th Armored Division in Germany and France during WWII and was a prisoner of war in Germany, according to the university.
While at Salem State, he wrote a number of of articles on the history of modern Poland, a particular interest of his. In 1967, he received the Knight’s Cross of Polonia Restituta from the Polish government-in-exile.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.