In Memoriam: Classics Professor Karl Maurer

In Memoriam: Classics Professor, Man of Letters Karl Maurer

 

Associate Professor of Classics Karl Maurer passed away on Monday, May 4, at his home in Irving.

Maurer joined the university in 1998 and served for many years as the chair of the Classics Department. He taught hundreds of students Latin and Greek and wasted no time sharing with them his love of the most beautiful and difficult ancient writers--Pindar, Thucydides, Virgil. Elementary Greek students would often find themselves laboriously parsing lines of Pindar--one of the most difficult Greek lyric poets--in the first few weeks of class.

There is no remediation for a loss of this magnitude, said David Sweet, associate professor and chair of classics.

An intimidating and eccentric professor, he was notorious among students for his demanding assignments, constant quizzes (timed at the length of a cigarette or two), affectionate insults, and class emails sent at 3 a.m. beginning Dear People... He was also beloved by them for his ability to illuminate the beauty of his favorite poets and writers. Among his special loves were Robert Frost; Jacob Balde, a 17th century Jesuit priest who wrote Latin lyrics; and Virgil's Georgics.

"His standards for scholarship could not be surpassed. He demanded nothing less than perfection from his students and you may ask them. They are grateful he did," said David Davies, assistant professor of English and adjunct professor of classics.

Maurer was almost finished with an English verse translation of Vergils "Georgics" when he died.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, May 7, at St. Patrick's Church in Philadelphia, Maurer's birthplace.

The Maurer family would like to hold a memorial service for Maurer this fall when the university community has reassembled. More information will follow regarding the campus memorial service.

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