Emeritus Faculty

W. Ralph Johnson, pre-eminent UChicago critic of Latin poetry, 1933‒2024

W. Ralph Johnson, the John Matthew Manly Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, 1993-2024, Photo courtesy of the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center

Prof. Emeritus W. Ralph Johnson, a distinctive critic of Latin poetry and the renowned University of Chicago author of multiple books on Latin and comparative literature, passed away on April 13. He was 90.

Through his scholarship, Johnson showed an uncanny ability to draw the reader into the text by his own deep appreciation of both the author’s and the reader’s concerns. Many of his colleagues believed that he achieved the highest level of literary criticism for Latin scholars of his generation, and said he helped make UChicago the “crucial center of classical studies that it is today.”

Trump's Threat to Attack 52 Iranian Sites Draws Criticism, Concern from Humanities Professor Emeritus

This image of Persepolis is provided by Wikipedia.

An expert on Iranian culture says he was “appalled” by President Donald Trump’s threat to attack dozens of Iranian sites should Iran retaliate against a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday.

Beyond his years of research and teaching, professor emeritus Matthew Stolper of the University of Chicago’s Near Eastern Languages and Literatures and Oriental Institute has traveled to Iran numerous times to excavate Persepolis, an ancient city deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

“I don’t know what the sites are,” Stolper said. “But of course, all of us who work on cultural heritage are fairly appalled by this.”

Kenneth Northcott, UChicago Scholar, Translator, and Actor, 1922-2019

Kenneth Northcott

Prof. Emeritus Kenneth Northcott lived a vibrant existence, which was often filled with drama—in the classroom, on the stage, and in the British Intelligence Corps after World War II. A renowned University of Chicago scholar of Germanic studies, actor, and translator of significant authors, Northcott passed away June 4 in Chicago at age 96. “Northcott stood out for his brilliance as a teacher, translator, and actor and for his warmth and outgoing personality,” said Françoise Meltzer, the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, the Divinity School, and the College.

Eric P. Hamp, Renowned Scholar of Indo-European Linguistics, 1920-2019

Eric P. Hamp

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. 

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