Tag Archive for obit

Swanson Called Wesleyan Coach of Running Elite

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

Boston Marathon winner and former Runners World editor Amby Burfoot ’68, his former Wesleyan coach Elmer Swanson and Jeff Galloway ’67, Olympian, author and coach and founder of the Galloway Run Walk Run method of running. (Lori Riley / Hartford Courant)

The list of athletes who ran on Elmer Swanson’s teams over the 30 years he served as Wesleyan’s track and cross-country coach “reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in elite running,” observed Hartford Courant Sports Columnist Lori Riley. She remembered Swanson, who died Aug. 12, at the age of 92, in an piece rich with comments from some of his well known—and fleet-footed —alumni.

Riley’s roundup notes: “He coached [Amby] Burfoot [’68], who won the Boston Marathon in 1968, his senior year, and went on to become the editor of Runners World magazine. He coached Bill Rodgers [’70], who won four Boston marathons and four New York City marathons and become one of the most recognizable runners in the world. He coached Jeff Galloway [’67], who ran the 10,000 meters in the 1972 Olympics and pioneered the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method, enabling many to start running and continue in the sport injury-free. He coached John Fixx [’83], son of Jim Fixx, who wrote the iconic “Complete Book of Running” during the height of the running boom in 1977. He coached Sebastian Junger [’84], who went on to become a filmmaker and author and wrote the best-seller The Perfect Storm (and also ran a 2:21 marathon).”

And, the praise from these runners for their college coach included these comments:  Junger, in a Facebook post, recalled Swanson as “such a source of calmness and love.’ Burfoot called Swanson “a rock… a second father.”  Galloway noted that “Elmer helped focus on that importance of running without making it overbearing,” and Fixx concurred: “Elmer’s runners seem to run longer after college, and continue to do better … It’s as though he paced his coaching so, in fact, our best years weren’t in college.”

De Boer Remembered for Teaching Connecticut Geology

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus, died July 23 at the age of 81.

De Boer received his BS and PhD from the University of Utrecht before coming to Wesleyan as a postdoctoral fellow in 1963. During his early years at Wesleyan he worked closely with Geology Professor Jim Balsley in the field of paleomagnetism. In 1977, de Boer was named the George I. Seney Professor of Geology and in 1984 he was named the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Sciences.

In the 1970s de Boer worked as a joint professor at the University of Rhode Island at the Marine Sciences Institute where he was a PhD supervisor for Bob Ballard, who found the Titanic in 1985. Ballard later invited de Boer to go diving in the submersible Alvin to collect rocks in the Cayman Trough.

Originally interested in coming to the United States to study the Appalachian Mountains, de Boer’s research focused on the geotectonics of the Appalachians, Southeast Asia and South and Central America.

In 2015 de Boer received the Joe Webb Peoples Award,

Professor Barlow Remembered as a Brilliant Pianist

Jon Barlow, professor of music, emeritus, died Dec. 15 at the age of 73.

Barlow arrived at Wesleyan in 1966 after receiving his BA and MA from Cornell University. He arrived as the Music Department began its visionary phase and taught in the department for 34 years. Grounded in “Western” music history, Barlow expanded his horizons geographically and conceptually, constantly creating innovative courses, which attracted serious students. Many of his students went on to become established composers, performers, musicologists and ethnomusicologists.

Firshein Remembered for being a Founding Member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department

William "Bill" Firshein

William “Bill” Firshein

William “Bill” Firshein, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, emeritus, died Dec. 7 at the age of 85.

Firshein arrived at Wesleyan in 1958 after receiving his BS from Brooklyn College and his MS and PhD from Rutgers University. He taught at Wesleyan for 47 years before retiring in 2005.

Firshein was an active scholar who was awarded research grants totaling more than $2 million over his career. He investigated the molecular biology of DNA replication cell division in Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli and their plasmids. In his most recent book, The Infectious Microbe, published by Oxford University Press in January 2014, he discussed the relationship between humans and viruses and illustrated how pathogens are spread. This book was based on a very popular general education course that he taught for decades.

Firshein was a founding member of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, and served as chair of MB&B for seven years, and as chair of the Biology Department for three years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the PhD programs in biology and MB&B.

The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department annually awards the William Firshein Prize in his honor to the graduating student who has contributed the most to the interests and character of the department each year.

William "Bill" Firshein. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

William “Bill” Firshein. (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan University Special Collections & Archives)

“Bill was a true friend to his colleagues and always available for effective useful advice and guidance to the young faculty,” said Anthony Infante, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, emeritus.

Firshein is survived by his wife, Anna, and his children, Kyrill, Alex, David, Alan and Eva. His family requests that memorial contributions be made in his name to the Wesleyan Memorial Fund and sent to the care of Marcy Herlihy, University Relations, 318 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459.

A memorial will take place at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 25 in Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow in Zelnick Pavillon.

arupc_faculty_firshein_003

Klarren Remembered for Introducing Students to Religious Thinkers

Eugene Klaaren

Eugene Klaaren

Eugene Klaaren, associate professor of religion, emeritus, died Oct. 18 at the age of 78. Klaaren taught at Wesleyan from 1968 until he retired in 2006.

Klaaren’s courses introduced students to central Christian thinkers in the history of theology and philosophy, from Martin Luther to Soren Kierkegaard, John Calvin to David Hume and Jonathan Edwards, and Friedrich Schleiermacher to Friedrich Nietzsche.

Bernstein ’15 Remembered for His “Large Personality,” Athleticism

Rex Bernstein ’15

Rex Bernstein ’15

Rex Bernstein ’15 died peacefully in his sleep Jan. 10 while visiting family in the San Francisco Bay area. He was pursuing a government major at Wesleyan with a minor in history. He was a former member of the Wesleyan swim team and a member of Beta Theta Pi.

Bernstein, 22, was “a large person with a large personality, and he will be missed by many here on campus,” wrote Dean Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs.

Bernstein is survived by his parents and younger sister, Olive, and his dog, Gato. View Bernstein’s guestbook online here.

A memorial service is being planned by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Professor Emeritus Jason Wolfe Remembered for Mentoring, Cell Biology Research

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe, professor of biology emeritus, died Dec. 23 at the age of 73.

Wolfe joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1969 after receiving his BA from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and completing two post-doctoral fellowships at Kings College, University of London, and Johns Hopkins University. He taught cell biology, human biology, biology of aging and the elderly, and structural biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

In his research, Wolfe asked big questions about how reproduction and aging are regulated. With funding from NIH and NSF, he produced a consistent and enviable body of work published in the major cell biology journals – always mentoring undergraduates and graduate students with great compassion and insight. He led the effort that resulted in Wesleyan’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Undergraduate Life Science Education, establishing a program that has provided decades of support for hundreds of undergraduates. In retirement, he twice offered his popular general education course in Human Biology and published his last Biology Open research paper in 2014 with four former Wesleyan undergraduate co-authors.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe's retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years. Pictured are former and current members of the Wolfe Lab. Front row, from left, are Emily Lu '00 and Vey Hadinoto '99. Back row, from left, are Aditi Khatri '11, Joan Bosco '09, Hyo Yang '12, Professor Wolfe, Carlo Balane '06 and Ivy Chen '09.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe’s retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

He brought his keen intellect and passion to the study and practice of Judaism. The scope of his activities extended from giving public lectures at the Center for the Humanities to service on the Wesleyan University Press Editorial Board to working with the Sierra Club in Arizona and New Mexico.

Jason is survived by his wife, Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of history, as well as three children and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Young Israel of West Hartford, 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, CT, 06117.

A memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow in Zelnick Pavilion.

Professor Emeritus Creeger Remembered for Teaching Romantic Poetry

(Photos courtesy of Special Collections & Archives)

George Creeger. (Photos courtesy of Special Collections & Archives)

George Creeger, professor of English, emeritus, died Nov. 1 at the age of 89.

Creeger joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1951 after receiving his BA at DePauw University, and his MA and Ph.D. at Yale. He taught American literature in the English Department for nearly 50 years. He was an expert on romantic poetry — particularly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Keats, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, and on the works of Herman Melville. Creeger also brought some of his other passions into the classroom through courses on Early Connecticut Houses and Opera as Myth and Literature. He served as dean of the college from 1971-1973 as well as chair of the faculty from 1991-1992.

He was the first recipient of the Binswanger Award for Excellence in Teaching when it was inaugurated in 1993.

George Creeger lecturing.

George Creeger lecturing.

In an all-campus e-mail, Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology, said “[Creeger] was a brilliant teacher whose deep resonant voice was instantly recognizable, and he was much beloved by a devoted following of students.”

Creeger was the son of a Methodist minister in Middletown, and lived part of his young life in the area. He met Elva, the daughter of Professor of Astronomy Carl Stearns, and they were married in Middletown.

Creeger is survived by his son, Kit (Christopher) Creeger, his daughter, Katie, of Ithaca, New York, and two grandsons, Ethan and Josh, both sons of Kit. He is predeceased by his wife, Elva, and by a son, Carl, who lived in Austin, Texas.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Center For Faculty Career Development at Wesleyan as follows: note “CFCD in memory of Professor George Creeger” when contributing at give.wesleyan.edu or on a check mailed to Wesleyan University, 164 Mount Vernon Street, Middletown, CT 06459.

A memorial service is being planned for the spring at Wesleyan.

Former Artist-in-Residence Redpath Remembered for Teaching Folklore

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of http://www.jeanredpath.com/)

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of http://www.jeanredpath.com/)

Jean Redpath, a Scottish-born singer who delighted audiences worldwide and was described by The Boston Globe as “something very close to Scotland’s folk singer laureate,” died Aug. 21 at age 77. She brought her musical talent and extensive knowledge of Scottish history to Wesleyan and the Middletown community as an artist-in-residence in the 1970s.

According to her official website, Redpath arrived in the United States in 1961 with $11 in her pocket.

Professor of Art John Frazer Remembered for Teaching, Painting, Films

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He’s pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings.

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, died July 7 at the age of 82.

“Generations of Wesleyan students knew John as a gifted teacher of students at all levels of artistic ability,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Throughout his career on the Wesleyan faculty, from 1959 to 2001, Frazer introduced hundreds of Wesleyan students to the art of drawing, painting and film. He taught the first filmmaking courses at Wesleyan and continued this teaching until the Film Program, which he helped found, became independent of the Art Department. His influence lives on through his endowment of the John Frazer Instructor of Drawing position in the Department of Art and Art History. The John Frazer Visiting Artist Endowment Fund was established in 1999 and endowed in his honor through the generosity of the Andrus family.

Professor Emeritus Whitin Dies at Age 90

Thomson Whitin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, Emeritus, died Dec. 9 at the age of 90.

Whitin had already achieved distinction when he joined the Wesleyan faculty as a professor of economics in 1963. He graduated from Princeton University in 1943 and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the aircraft carrier the Bonhomme Richard. Having obtained a doctorate in economics from Princeton University, and teaching there until 1952, he joined the faculty of M.I.T. as an assistant professor. While on leave from M.I.T. from 1956–58, he served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; subsequently he rejoined the M.I.T. faculty 1958-60 before joining the University of California, Berkeley, as a full professor in 1960. During his long tenure at Wesleyan, he twice served as a visiting professor of administrative science at Yale University and received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He retired in 1993.

The author of two books, The Theory of Inventory Management (Princeton University Press, 1953) and Analysis of Inventory Systems co-authored with George Hadley (Prentice-Hall, 1963), Whitin also published dozens of scholarly papers and reviews. He served as a consultant to numerous organizations, including the RAND Corporation, Stanford Research Institute, and the U.S. Navy.

The Economics Department will be offering the inaugural Barber/Whitin Prize this spring for the best undergraduate paper in economic theory or institutional economics.

Whitin was an avid tennis player; he could be found frequently on the Wesleyan courts holding his own with the some of the best tennis players on campus. He served as an advocate for the mentally ill through his association with the Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Connecticut). Whitin was predeceased by his wife, Edith Osborn Sherer, and is survived by four children: Charles, Sonia, Holly, Richard; and three grandchildren, Emilie, Aya and Sophia.

Professor Emeritus Reid Remembered for Being a Pedagogical Innovator

James Reid, professor of mathematics, emeritus, died Oct. 27. An authority on algebra, Reid joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1969 as associate professor, becoming professor of mathematics in 1971. Previously, he had held faculty positions at Syracuse University and Amherst College, and he also had served as a research associate at Yale University.

He obtained his PhD from the University of Washington, where he was an instructor. Reid published in scholarly journals throughout his career, presented numerous invited lectures, and was an adviser for 14 PhD students, 11 master’s degree students, and six undergraduate honors theses. Among his colleagues, he gained a reputation as a pedagogical innovator, and he offered the University’s first course in programming and computerized computation before Wesleyan had hired its first computer scientist. He was also the architect of the course “Introduction to Mathematical Thought: from the Discrete to the Continuous,” a popular First-Year Initiative class.

“Jim was a gifted mathematician who taught courses at all levels, ranging from a ‘Teaching of Math’ course in the former Educational Studies Program to introductory calculus to graduate level courses. His kindness and gentle demeanor won him the admiration of colleagues and affection from students during his long and productive career,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor of psychology.

Reid retired in 2001, but continued to teach one or two courses at Wesleyan every spring, including last semester.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three children–James Jr., Margaret, and Gerald ’91–and five grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.