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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 20225min
Jeremy Zwelling, associate professor of religion, emeritus, passed away on May 8 at the age of 81. Zwelling received bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his MA and PhD from Brandeis University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1967, where he taught for 43 years until his retirement in 2010. He was instrumental in the creation of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan, and he created and directed an Israel Studies program in Jerusalem. Zwelling was named the inaugural Silverberg-Shapiro Professor of Jewish Studies in 2003, and when he retired in 2010 this chair was renamed the…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 10, 20224min
Richard "Dick" T. Vann, professor emeritus of history and letters, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 90. Vann received bachelor's degrees from Southern Methodist University and Oxford University and an MA and PhD from Harvard University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1964 and taught in the College of Letters and History Department until his retirement in 2000. “Dick was an intellectual force at Wesleyan for decades—a gentle and persistent force for creative, interdisciplinary work across the humanities and social sciences,” recalled President Michael Roth '78. “A gifted teacher, his History and Prophecy seminar was already legendary when I…

Olivia DrakeJanuary 25, 20223min
David Morgan, professor of history, emeritus, passed away on Jan. 20 at the age of 83. Morgan received his BA from Haverford College and his DPhil from Oxford University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1966 and taught history for 37 years until his retirement in 2003. During those years he served numerous terms as the chair of history and chair of the College of Social Studies (CSS), and he served one term as dean of the social sciences. “My first memories of David Morgan are of classical music and opera pouring out of his office, with the door open, much…

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Editorial StaffJanuary 10, 20224min
Gertrude Hughes, professor of English, emerita, died on Jan. 5 at the age of 85. Hughes received her BA from Mount Holyoke College, her MAT from Wesleyan University, and her Ph.D from Yale University. She returned to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of English in 1976 and remained until her retirement in 2006. “Gertrude was a remarkable woman, a valued colleague, and a treasured friend,” recalled Bill Stowe, Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, Emeritus. “She began her academic career later than most, completing her Yale PhD under the formidable Harold Bloom while raising four children. Her book on…

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Editorial StaffDecember 1, 20213min
Alvin Lucier, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, died on Dec. 1 at the age of 90. Lucier received his BA from Yale University and his MFA from Brandeis University. He joined the Wesleyan faculty as a visiting professor in 1968 and as an associate professor in 1972. He taught here for 43 years before retiring in 2011. A pioneering composer, Lucier was at the forefront of American avant-garde music. He lectured and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 1994 Wesleyan celebrated his career with a five-day multimedia festival, Alvin Lucier: Collaborations, which included new work…

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Editorial StaffOctober 14, 20212min
Richard Ohmann, Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, Emeritus, died Oct. 8 at the age of 90. Ohmann received his BA from Oberlin College and his MA and PhD from Harvard University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1961 and, until his retirement in 1996, served in many roles and helped to shape the future of Wesleyan. Joel Pfister, Olin Professor of English, sketched Ohmann’s trajectory: “He was promoted rapidly to full professor; was appointed vice president and provost; protested on national TV against the Vietnam War; was elected vice president of the Modern Language Association (MLA) on an antiwar…

Editorial StaffApril 5, 20214min
Peter “Kosty” Kostacopoulos, adjunct professor of physical education, emeritus, and former head baseball coach and assistant football coach, passed away on March 25 at the age of 86. Kosty earned his BS from the University of Maine, where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball, and made the All-Maine Conference in football and basketball. After coaching at Bowdoin for nine years, he arrived at Wesleyan in 1968. He served as head baseball coach for 28 years and assistant football coach for 19 years. He also served as a head squash coach during this time. Kosty led the Cardinals to 11…

Editorial StaffMarch 16, 20213min
Ann Wightman, professor of history, emerita, died on March 11 at the age of 70. Wightman was born in South Euclid, Ohio. She earned her BA from Duke University and her MPhil and PhD from Yale. First arriving at Wesleyan as a visiting instructor in 1979, she remained here for 36 years until her retirement in 2015. Wightman was an accomplished scholar with a focus on Latin America. She felt that she found a “second home” doing research in the Andes, and she sought to capture the history of that region in her first book, Indigenous Migration and Social Change:…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 9, 20212min
  Donald Russell, professor of physical education, emeritus, and former director of athletics and head football coach, passed away on Feb. 2 at the age of 93. Russell earned his BA from Bates College, where he played offensive and defensive tackle for the football team. Arriving at Wesleyan in 1960, he served as an assistant football coach under Norm Daniels, then became head football coach from 1964 through 1970, after which point he stepped down from that position, though he remained as the head of athletics until his retirement in 1991. Russell led the Cardinals to three Little Three championships…

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Editorial StaffJanuary 11, 20212min
Christina Crosby, professor of English, passed away Jan. 5 at the age of 67. She also was professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Crosby arrived at Wesleyan in 1982 after receiving her AB from Swarthmore College and PhD from Brown University. She was a respected Victorianist, feminist, and theorist who was widely published, including two books, The Ends of History: Victorians and “The Woman Question” (Routledge, 1990) and A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain (NYU Press, 2016). She received Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 1994. "Christina was a brilliant scholar-teacher," recalled Natasha Korda, professor…

Editorial StaffJanuary 11, 20213min
Frances Sheng, adjunct associate professor of Asian languages and literatures, emerita, passed away on Jan. 3 at the age of 95. Sheng completed her undergraduate degree at Fu Jen Catholic University in Beijing, and her MA at the University of Connecticut. In 1972 she arrived at Wesleyan, where she founded Wesleyan’s Chinese language program and inspired generations of students by teaching Chinese faithfully until her retirement in 1994. During her 22 years at Wesleyan, Sheng was involved in the establishment of the East Asian Studies program as well as study abroad in China, and she founded the Frances M. Sheng…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 28, 20203min
Sean Higgins, Wesleyan's Lock Shop foreman, passed away suddenly on Sept. 25. He was 60 years old. Higgins worked for Wesleyan's Physical Plant for 16 years maintaining the physical security of the campus where he insured the safety of students, faculty, and staff. According to his obituary in The Middletown Press, Higgins "showed his love in the form of full-body hugs, homemade pasta sauce, big family breakfasts, and a shared Guinness, no matter the time of day. He loved to hate the New York Giants, indulged in bad action films, and never turned down helping someone in need. His quick…