Weinberg Prof. Kathryn Bosher leaves legacy in classics
April 1, 2013 •
Weinberg Prof. Kathryn Bosher, an energetic scholar of the origins of fifth centry Greek theater in Italy, died March 23. She was 38.
Colleagues and students said she will be remembered at Northwestern for her scholarship and energy.
“She combined a good critical sense of her field with a tremendously positive disposition,” said Robert Wallace, who worked with Bosher in the department of classics and theater.
Bosher, who went on medical leave Winter Quarter, passed away after a private battle with cancer.
Bosher came to NU in 2006 after getting her doctorate in classical studies from the University of Michigan. In 2009, Bosher helped win a Mellon Foundation grant for a two-year series of conferences called “Theater Outside Athens,” which focused on new research and brought together scholars of theater and antiquity. She recently published a book about the first seminar series.
“It was a major event,” Wallace said. “She was really a phenomenon.”
In addition to the conference, Bosher acted as a faculty affiliate of the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities in the 2009-10 academic year. Weinberg Prof. Jules Law, the director of the program, said Bosher was asked to teach a freshman seminar in the program due to the “incredible care she took with students.”
“Students were just blown away by her knowledge and blown away by her passion,” Law said.
Law said the freshman seminar Bosher taught focused on comedy as both a literary form and a theatrical program. He remembered her taking extra time with her students “one on one.”
“The students really want professors who are not only scholars, but genuine teachers and mentors,” Law said. “Freshmen particularly rely on that kind of guidance, that kind of human guidance.”
Weinberg senior Ian Coley was a student in Bosher’s Kaplan seminar during Fall Quarter 2009. He said it shaped his decision to declare a major in classics.
“It’s an absolute tragedy to lose her at such a young age, when she had so much more to give the Northwestern community,” Coley said.
In addition to taking the seminar with Bosher his freshman year, Coley took a Latin course with her last Spring Quarter, one of the last courses Bosher taught at NU. Coley said he remembered her being “inspiring” during the class.
“There was no room or desire to do anything but pay attention to the material and learn and ask questions,” Coley said. “She was extraordinary in the smaller setting in connecting with students.”
Coley said he had intended to take yet another course with Bosher, who kept her battle with cancer very private, but could not because she went on medical leave.
Bosher is survived by her husband, LaDale Winling, and their son Ernest.
A funeral service was held for Bosher on Friday at the University. Weinberg is planning a later memorial service that is yet to be finalized. Wallace said the department of classics and theatre will discuss a way to commemorate Bosher’s legacy at an upcoming faculty meeting, possibly through a form of endowment or an award.
“We intend to do something in her honor,” Wallace said. “We will miss her.”