Recently I was very upset to see a failure of a university to provide the customary honor to one of its beloved professors: the big obituary in the national newspaper on Saturday.
It really vexed me that a man who gave everything he could possibly give – innovative teaching methods, fair (often adjustable!) balance between coursework & exams, a relentless bridging of pure maths principles and real-world applications, total loyalty to his department notwithstanding his personal views and complete personal modesty – was not given this simple yet so meaningful final recognition.
The newspaper say no obituary had been forwarded on by the university’s liaison officer. The late professor’s department ignored my query. A lady in administration admitted the dead professor was most worthy of the honor but said many previous worthies (including a close relative of her own) were similarly overlooked. I have ventured to solicit the views of ex-students of the deceased man and all are very surprised at the lack of even an appreciation piece on the department’s webpages. But then universities write their own rules on these matters so those of us who are disappointed must grin and bear it.
What are the standard obituary honors – as SE Academia members may have informally observed them during their academic careers – for deceased professors ?
Within your own experience, does the withholding of any "standard" obituary honors indicate displeasure on the part of the university towards one of their late colleagues ?
I wondered if the fact that this professor’s métier was mathematics made a difference. Generally speaking, the more publicly prominent dons come from arts, humanities, law and social sciences. Previous math professors of this university lauded by obituaries had other strings to their bow, e.g. involvement in politics, university management or sport.
Perhaps a more fitting tribute at this stage may be a gedenkschrift. Maybe kind readers may share their experiences of involvement in such undertakings