In Memoriam: Classics Professor, Man of Letters Karl Maurer
Associate Professor of Classics Karl Maurer passed away on Monday, May 4, at his home
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,
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.