Passing: John E. Limber

May 2, 2017
photo of John E. Limber

John E. Limber

John E. Limber, associate professor emeritus of psychology, passed away on April 26, 2017. A memorial service will be held on May 26, 2017 at 5 p.m. at Three Chimneys Inn in Durham.

On Wednesday, April 26, John Edward Limber died peacefully at his home in Durham, N.H., surrounded by his daughters, Kristin and Alexandra McGraw.

Born on Chicago’s South Side, John earned his undergraduate and honors graduate degrees at the University of Illinois, and was forever tied to the hapless Fighting Illini football and basketball teams. A win, at least every now and then, made John a happy member of Illini Nation.

In 1971, following post-doctoral work in psycholinguistics at Wesleyan University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John became a member of the Department of Psychology of the University of New Hampshire, where he continued to teach undergraduate and graduate students and supervise their research until his retirement in 2009.

His graduate students became his lifelong friends and, especially in his later years, reminded him of the powerful influence he had on them, personally and professionally. A common refrain was that he taught, and led, by example.

John was also an innovator. At the beginning of each class and then periodically throughout the semester, he warned students that while all views were welcome, they needed to be data-based and cogently argued. He never tolerated, he said, “B.S.” He brought out a rubber stamp and a red ink pad and illustrated what he would add, as needed, to papers turned into him. Note: the rubber stamp did not use the abbreviation. Neither did John. Any number of students can testify that this was not an idle threat, but they can also testify that it was always done with charm and flair, to move their thinking along.

John’s views were not always taken as gospel by friends. For decades, John was an active member of the Psyclones — the slow-pitch softball team fielded by members of the psychology department. John was the team’s main pitcher, and for decades he insisted he was able to throw a slow-pitch curve ball. Knowledgeable people (including a former minor league major baseball pitcher) denied the very possibility of such a pitch. But John scoffed at skeptics, as he explained the physics of why the ball had to curve when released it just so!

John was a charter member of the “Applied Probability Group” in Durham — otherwise known as the monthly poker game. John was often the big winner of the night and at the last meeting he attended just a couple of months ago, he maintained his winning style.

John Limber was kind, nurturing, smart and pragmatic. His was a life well lived. At John’s core was his love of family. In the view of family and friends, John always found (and gave) the essentials: love, perspective, humor and kindness.

A memorial service to honor John’s life will be held at 5 p.m., May 26, 2017 at Three Chimneys Inn in Durham. His family and friends request that if you attend, you come with a story about John to share with the group. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s name to a charity of your choice.

—Edited from a longer piece written by the Limber family


Simic Awarded International Poetry Festival’s Golden Wreath

April 25, 2017

photo of Charles Simic

Charles Simic, professor emeritus of English, has been named the 2017 Golden Wreath award winner of Struga Poetry Evenings.

Struga Poetry Evenings is an international poetry festival held every August in Struga, Macedonia since 1962. Over 5,000 poets, book reviewers, theoreticians, publishers and literature promoters from over 100 countries and all continents have taken part in the festival since its inception. During the event, the Golden Wreath award is given to an outstanding poet for her or his body of work.

The managing board of Struga Poetry Evenings chose Simic’s work for its “original poetic voice that through a surrealistic experience, gradually evolves as a distinctive observer of the modern, with strong moral and philosophical questions; extremely clear, serious but fun at the same time. This award values his outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry, which is a passionate and lucid testimony of modern time, intriguing, provocative, shocking, meditative, full of insights of ironic humor.”

“I was delighted to hear that I’m to be awarded The Golden Wreath Award…,” said Simic, as reported in Versopolis, a European publication that reviews poetry, books and culture. “A number of past winners were my friends and I know how deeply honored they were to receive this award and so am I today. The list of your past recipients is so distinguished that I don’t know of another poetry prize anywhere in the world that can equal it. I have fond memories of Struga Poetry Evenings in 1972 and my visit to Skopje afterwards and on another occasion in 1982. I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. Thank you all.”

Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. His work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. He has published over twenty books of his own poetry, seven books of essays, a memoir, and numerous books of translations of French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian poetry. Simic, who was born in Yugoslavia and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, taught English and creative writing for over thirty years at the University of New Hampshire.

The Golden Wreath award will be presented to Simic at this year’s festival, to be held August 23-28, 2017.


Passings: David R. Smith, Professor Emeritus of Art History

August 5, 2016

David R. Smith

Professor emeritus David R. Smith passed away on July 30, 2016 at his home in Maine. He was 70 years old. Professor Smith joined the UNH faculty as an art historian in 1979 after earning his Ph.D. from Columbia a year earlier. He retired in 2015. He taught courses all all levels, from broad introductory art history courses to more specialized courses in Rococo, Baroque, Northern Renaissance, Greek and Roman art. He published many articles, exhibition essays and catalogues, book chapters and books including his 2012 edited collection, “Parody and Festivity in Early Modern Art : Essays on Comedy as Social Vision”  (Ashgate) and his 1982 book, “Masks of Wedlock: Seventeenth-century Dutch Marriage Portraiture” (UMI Research Press).

“Professor Smith was an unusually gifted lecturer, with rare expertise in Dutch art and culture, whose classes were overenrolled for many years,” notes Craig Hood, professor and chair of the UNH Department of Art and Art History.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Newmarket Community Church located at 137 Main Street in Newmarket, NH. The service will be followed by a brief reception.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations toward the publishing costs of Professor Smith’s last book, “Privacy and Civilization in Dutch Art 1650-1700,” which is now awaiting publication at the University of Delaware Press. The book is a fundamental rethinking of the forms and meanings of Dutch realism, based on a dichotomy between private and public sensibilities that looks forward to modernity. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/2k2bvyc.

Read the obituary published in fosters.com.


Passing: Murray A. Straus

May 17, 2016
Murray A. Straus

Murray A. Straus

By David Finkelhor, UNH Professor of Sociology:

Murray Straus, an internationally influential former professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and founder of the field of family violence research, died May 13, 2016 at the age of 89.

Beginning in the 1970s, his surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.

He devoted much of his later career to the study of spanking and corporal punishment, accumulating evidence that spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between them and their parents, among other negative side effects.

He pioneered techniques for getting information about sensitive topics such as being the victim or perpetrator of family violence in national household and telephone surveys. His Conflict Tactics Scale, which he revised over the years, became the standard approach for gathering information about child and spouse abuse and one of the more widely used instruments in social science.

His findings led him to the conclusion that, although women suffered more serious consequences than men from domestic aggression, women perpetrated a considerable amount of violence in intimate relationships that also needed to be addressed in public policy if families were to be made safe.

Early in his career he specialized in rural sociology and the measurement of family interaction.

He became interested in family violence as a result of planning a meeting of the National Council of Family Relations in Chicago, Illinois, in 1968 in the wake of police brutality there at the Democratic Convention.

He decided that to engage with the issues of the day, they needed to assemble a panel on the connection between families and societal violence. He went on to show that people exposed to violence in their families of origin were considerably more likely to engage in violence as adults and to support public policies such as capital punishment and military intervention.

He was of the opinion that spanking, even when used in moderation, taught that hitting and violence were appropriate and even necessary responses when a person believed someone else’s misbehavior needed correction. He concluded, based on his research, that parents should be taught to never spank children. He strongly endorsed and provided much of the scientific evidence to back efforts to ban corporal punishment, a ban which has been adopted by more than four dozen countries.

Straus spent most of his career, from 1968 until his death, at UNH, much of it as director of the Family Research Laboratory, after previous positions at Washington State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell and the University of Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s and doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin.

He was an energetic and prolific scholar, authoring 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Among the most widely cited were “Behind Closed Doors” and “Beating the Devil Out of Them.”

He was also a devoted teacher who trained and mentored dozens of scholars, including many of the current luminaries in the field of family violence, as director for 30 years of a post-doctoral fellowship program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

He served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the National Council on Family Relations and the Eastern Sociological Society and was active in numerous other academic organizations.

He was the recipient of many awards, including from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Sociological Association.

He was known as a warm and engaging person who enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and supervising students. He assembled two large international consortia, involving dozens of scholars in more than 30 countries to conduct cross-national comparative surveys on dating violence and parental disciplinary practices.

Straus was born in New York City on June 18, 1926, to Samuel and Kathleen (Miller) Straus.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Dunn Straus; his children by a previous marriage, Carol Straus and Dr. John Straus; his stepchildren David Dunn and wife Kathy, Lisa Dunn, Thomas Dunn and wife Linda; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial to commemorate his life and work is planned for July 11 in conjunction with the International Conference on Family Violence and Child Victimization Research to be held at the Portsmouth Sheraton. All members of the community are welcome.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Family Research Lab Projects Fund, with checks made out to UNH Foundation and referencing Murray Straus, and mailed to:

Family Research Lab Projects Fund
c/o UNH Foundation
9 Edgewood Road
Durham, NH 03824

Article source: UNH Today


Dave Seiler to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from New Hampshire Band Directors Association

April 11, 2016

Dave Seiler

Professor Emeritus of Music Dave Seiler has been chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Band Directors Association (NHBDA). This award has only been given out twice before, once in 2006 and once in 2014. The award letter to Seiler reads, in part:  “It is the opinion of the NHBDA Executive Board that you are someone who fits the criteria for this award perfectly. You received the NHBDA Outstanding Band Director Award in 2007 and you have had a highly visible and successful career at UNH. Your professional work in New England is well known and is ongoing. Your name comes to mind whenever anyone speaks of jazz in New Hampshire.” Seiler will receive the award on July 8, 2016.


Memorial Service: Jean Kennard, Professor Emerita of English

April 7, 2016

Jean Kennard

Jean Elizabeth Kennard, UNH professor emerita of English, died March 26, 2016 at the Laconia Rehabilitation Center in Laconia of pneumonia. She was 79. Her life partner of 39 years, Susan Schibanoff, was at her side.

During her tenure at UNH, Kennard authored four books and numerous articles on Victorian literature and modern British fiction, with specialty areas in women’s literature, the literature of World War 1, and GLBT studies. She also taught undergraduate and graduate courses on these subjects, including the first course on women’s literature at UNH. She was the first female chair of the English Department (1978-1981) and its first female tenured full professor. She received the 1986-1987 University Distinguished Teaching Award; the 1992-1993 Kidder Fund Tolerance Award for Faculty; and the 1999-2000 University Distinguished Professor Award. More.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 22, at 1 p.m., in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn, located at 172 North Main St. in Concord, N.H. A reception will follow.

Memorial donations may be made to the New Hampshire Humane Society, an animal shelter or rescue organization of your choice, or sponsor a student at Bridge International Academies: http://www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com/sponsorship/sponsor-a-pupil/


Lost and Found: Looking back on the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster

January 28, 2016

Andy Merton
From UNH Today, by Tracey Bentley

On this 30th anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Challenger, UNH Today looks back with professor emeritus of English Andrew Merton.

Back in the winter of 1986, Merton was a faculty member in the UNH department of English, and his son Gabe was a first-grader at a local elementary school.

Merton recalls: “On Jan. 28, K-12 teachers throughout New Hampshire brought TVs into their classrooms to enable their students to watch the Challenger launch. New Hampshire’s Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space. Then, of course, it all went wrong, and the classroom teachers were left to grapple with how to deal with the tragic developments.”

The events of that day moved Merton to pen a poem called “Lost and Found,” in which Merton, the teacher, celebrates McAuliffe, the teacher.

After nearly three decades, Merton recently published “Lost and Found” in a collection of the same name. Here is the poem.

 

Lost and Found

for Gabe and in memory of Christa McAuliffe, Jan. 28, 1986

In winter
the big wooden box

in your school cafeteria
fills with boots, sweaters, sweatshirts,

hockey pucks, scarves,
and, on the day

they brought in a TV
so you and your friends

could watch a teacher
leave earth,

one small sky-blue mitten.
—Andrew Merton

 

(Published by permission)

book coverMerton will read from “Lost and Found” at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. and at the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m.


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