During his 41-year career at the University of Chicago, Professor Emeritus Eric P. Hamp became one of the world’s foremost scholars of Indo-European linguistics. Not only did he base much of his scholarship on lesser-known languages and dialects, but his colleagues said he rescued many of the obscure ones. Hamp, who passed away on Feb. 17 at age 98, compared modern languages to reconstruct how our common ancestors spoke thousands of years ago—long before language was recorded.
Prof. Emeritus Frank E. Reynolds, who died on Jan. 9 at age 88, was a leading expert in Theravada Buddhism, a religion predominantly practiced in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. He is remembered not only for his lasting impact on the field, but for his work as a teacher and mentor during his 34 years on the UChicago faculty.
Miguel Civil, the world’s leading expert in the earliest known written language, died on Jan. 13 at age 92. The scholar at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute was described as understanding Sumerian better than anyone since the beginning of the second millennium B.C.