In Memoriam: Lucy Turnbull

(From the University of Mississippi's website)

Former University of Mississippi professor Lucy Turnbull will always be remembered as a beloved educator who could make her curriculum both easy to understand and infinitely interesting to her students, a mentor and a champion of civil rights at Ole Miss.

Her enthusiasm for the classics was contagious, which propelled her students to success in her art history, archaeology, mythology and classical civilization courses. Turnbull, 87, of Oxford, joined the university faculty in 1961 and taught until 1990. She died Sunday (April 21).

Dewey Knight, recently retired UM associate director of the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, was one of Turnbull’s friends. He entered the university as a freshman in 1966 and found himself in one of her classes that year.

“She walked into the classroom that first day,” Knight said. “There were about 25 of us, and we were immediately very afraid of Professor Turnbull. She was incredibly intelligent. She could read Greek like we read English.

“We all were in fear of her, but we had the ultimate respect for her, because it was very obvious she was brilliant.”

Services for Turnbull are set for 11 a.m. Friday (April 26) at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford. A visitation will precede the service starting at 9 a.m. in the church’s Parish Hall.

Knight calls his former professor “one of the most important change agents” in the university’s history. Her biographical bullet points support that claim.

Born in Lancaster, Ohio, Turnbull earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Radcliffe. She was a John Williams White Fellow and Charles Eliot Norton Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She was the author of many scholarly articles and contributed to books, mainly in the areas of Greek vase painting, mythology and poetry.

After holding positions as a museum assistant at Wellesley College and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, she joined the UM classics faculty in 1961, as a classical archaeologist.

“Teaching is very energizing, but I didn’t really understand that at the time,” she later recalled. “When you’re teaching, you’re giving something to the students, but they’re also giving back to you. I enjoyed it very much.”

Turnbull was active in the integration of Ole Miss in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the university. She, as a relatively new faculty member, was among the professors who vocally supported Meredith pursuing his education at the university.

Provost Emeritus Gerald Walton, who joined the UM faculty in 1962, later recalled that the professors who supported integration as part of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors held formal meetings. Turnbull was elected the group’s secretary.

“Those of us who supported integration became a kind of fraternal group and talked among ourselves a good deal,” Walton said in 2012. “It was good to learn that Lucy was one who did not mind speaking her mind even though we weren’t sure in those days how such people as board of trustees members or legislators – or members of the Ole Miss administration, for that matter – might act. Lucy was a brave woman.”

Meredith often found himself alone on campus. Knight remembers seeing a photo of his friend Turnbull having lunch in Johnson Commons with Meredith and UM professor James Silver, author of “Mississippi: The Closed Society,” surrounded by a sea of empty tables.

She also was an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, Mississippi Council on Human Relations, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Associates and the National Organization of Women, among other groups.

Turnbull helped establish the University Museum and served as its director toward the end of her career, from 1983 to 1990. Its opening was one of her favorite memories, as the Department of Classics‘ large collection of Greek and Roman antiquities was moved from Bondurant Hall to the museum, where they remain.

Turnbull’s classroom presence had a lasting effect on Knight, he said. The two became friends, and for 20 years, beginning in 1996, they jointly taught a Sunday school class at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where Turnbull was a devoted member who will be memorialized there Friday.

Knight and his wife, Theresa, also were among those invited to “The Christmas Party” at Turnbull’s house each year, where she lived alone, having never married.

The parties, which Knight said she hosted for nearly 50 years, included a who’s who of the university’s liberal arts community and ornaments that Turnbull made by hand.

“The first time we got the invitation, it just said ‘The Christmas Party,’” Knight said. “We didn’t know what was happening. We finally ultimately realized it was a big event, and if you were invited to her house, you felt special.”

He will always remember Turnbull as one of the most important figures in the university’s history and a fierce advocate for the liberal arts education.

“I never met anybody who didn’t like Lucy,” Knight said. “She was just a really special person who was very opinionated and very principled. Even if you didn’t agree with her, you liked her.

“She was an unwavering force. She was a scholar, but she was also a quality person. She made the university better by being a part of it.”

---

(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

We are happy to announce the publication of a new edition of Careers for Classicists in Today’s World by Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr. with the assistance of the APA Education Committee.  Careers is copyright 2012 by the American Philological Association (APA) and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License

You are free to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the work provided that you attribute the work to the American Philological Association but not in a way that suggests that the APA endorses you or your use of the work and provided that you do not use this work for commercial purposes.  For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 09/06/2012 - 1:40pm by Adam Blistein.

A combined APA Newsletter for Winter and Spring 2012 is now available on the APA web site.  In a few weeks it will be mailed to members who requested printed copies of this publication when they paid their dues for 2012. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 09/05/2012 - 6:38pm by Adam Blistein.

The latest issue of Amphora (10.1 Summer 2012) is now available for downloading.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/03/2012 - 4:30pm by .

See the APA web site for the schedule of sessions for the upcoming meeting in Seattle as well as information about registration, hotels, air travel discounts, and local attractions.  Please be sure to read a message from Program Chair Joe Farrell encouraging you to attend what promises to be a very exciting meeting in a very appealing city.  We encourage companies and organizations with publications, equipment, and services of interest to classicists and archaeologists to participate in the exhibit show for the joint annual meeting.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 7:16pm by Adam Blistein.

Members are invited to serve as volunteers at the 144th Annual Meeting of the Association in Seattle, WA this coming January.  Assignments include assistance in the Registration Area, monitoring session rooms, and supporting the Placement Service.  Interested members should contact Heather Gasda in the Association Office by October 1, 2012.  The Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee will develop a schedule of volunteer activity in late Fall.

In exchange for eight hours of service (either in one continuous or in two 4-hour assignments), volunteers receive a waiver of their annual meeting registration fees.  It is not necessary to be an APA member to volunteer.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 08/17/2012 - 7:36pm by Adam Blistein.

The August 2012 issue of Positions has been posted on the APA web site.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 08/16/2012 - 3:22pm by Adam Blistein.

In April I briefed members on behalf of the Board about the funding threat to the German office of L'Année and promised to update members when we had further news (http://apaclassics.org/index.php/apa_blog/apa_blog_entry/3325/). I am delighted to pass along the following letter of 11 August 2012 from SIBC President Margarethe Billerbeck:

Jeff Henderson

-----------------

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I can inform you that the German Arbeitsstelle of L’Année Philologique can continue after the end of the current year. Professor Martin Hose has successfully negotiated the transfer of the present Arbeitsstelle from Heidelberg to the University of Munich which is prepared to finance and house the new équipe. This will include a full-time collaborator, a part-time collaborator as well as two assistants (‘Hilfskräfte’). The present guarantee is for three years with the possibility of renewal. At a time when public finances are severely strained this is an excellent outcome of what seemed an almost hopeless situation. We will have an occasion to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Hose for his untiring effort to convince the authorities of his University to accept this charge when he joins us at the Annual Meeting of the SIBC in Paris in November.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 08/13/2012 - 6:11pm by Adam Blistein.

In August all APA members in good standing for 2012 will receive instructions for voting in the 2012 election from Vote-Now, the firm we have retained to conduct this election.  Members for whom we have a valid e-mail address will receive their instructions via e-mail; all others will receive instructions via first-class mail.  Regardless of the method of notification, all members will once again have the option to vote online or to use a paper ballot.  The deadline for receipt of paper ballots will be the close of business on Friday, September 28, 2012.  Online balloting will close at 3:00 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, October 1, 2012

The online ballot will contain links to the biographical sketches and election statements of individual candidates.  In addition, several documents relevant to the election are posted here:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 08/10/2012 - 1:52pm by Adam Blistein.

IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca (www.imtlucca.it) is accepting applications, from extremely motivated students oriented towards dynamic and highly applicative research opportunities, for fully-funded Ph.D. positions in its 2013 Doctoral Research Program within the “Management and Development of Cultural Heritage” track.
 
The track in Management and Development of Cultural Heritage, in close collaboration with the LYNX - Center for the interdisciplinary Analysis of Images Research Unit (http://lynx.imtlucca.it/), aims at providing prospective professionals operating in the field of management of culture and cultural heritage with specific know-hows. It also promotes research offering the students a lively contact with different research approaches and methodologies applied in the research fields related to cultural heritage and art history.
 
Each student is invited to construct a personal study plan with Advisor, drawing from entire range of course offerings to best suit his or her background and research interests. 
 

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 08/01/2012 - 3:21pm by Adam Blistein.

Pages

Latest Stories

© 2020, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy