Born November 15, 1939 in Lewiswtown, PA to parents Thomas and Evelyn (Finan) Ayres; passed on November 14, 2014.
Attended Junior and Senior High Schools in Lewistown, PA. Received his A.B. at Dartmouth College in 1954, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Senior Fellow. Earned a B. Litt., University of Oxford (New College) in 1966, was a Keasbey Memorial Foundation Fellow, Philadelphia, PA; awarded the Binyon Prize.
Prof. Ayres earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1970 (Graduate National Fellowship), and Post-Graduate Fellowships. He received Research Fellowships (American Academy in Rome), and (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Both. Germany); (National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC); further grants in support of research; American Philosophical Society, National Endowment for the Arts; General Research Committee, UCSB, and others.
In 1970, Prof. Ayers joined the faculty at UCSB as a medievalist. In this area he developed the curriculum in the Middle Ages. He introduced surveys, intermediate level courses and graduate seminars. Here youth and chairship were combined to good effect. In line with investigating possible sources for funding of the Graduate Program, Dr. Ayres approached the Kress Foundation of New York. The Kress Foundation had a history of establishing programs in the United States. The Santa Barbara PH.D. program was included in these benefactions. Now Ph.D. students from Santa Barbara had travel funds for work on their dissertations. The support of the Kress Foundation figured largely in the success of Ph.D. students. The support from Margaret Mallory of Montecito and also of the UCSB Art Alliliates confirmed this undertaking.
In addition to these support systems, Prof. Ayres continued his Committee work on the Graduate Council, Research Committee, Committee on Academic Personnel, and others.
During his 35-year academic career, Prof. Ayres published over 150 articles. The world of Academia has lost a talented scholar-those who knew him personally have lost a good friend.
He is survived by his brother Stephen (Myrtle), nephew Ryan, and great-nephews Sean and Christopher Ayres. At his request there will be no services.