In memoriam John W. Geyssen

From: Alison Keith

Geyssen, John William (April 21, 1962 - June 4, 2011)

The Canadian Classics community will be saddened to learn of the sudden death of Dr. John W. Geyssen, Chair of the Department of Classics and Ancient History on the Fredericton campus, who passed away at his home on June 4th, 2011.

A beloved University of New Brunswick (Fredericton) professor, John earned his Bachelor (1985) and Masters Degrees (1987) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1992.

John Geyssen joined the Classics Department at UNB in 1992 as a sessional lecturer, achieved tenure-track status in 1998 and then tenure in 2000. He very early established himself as a talented teacher and mentor, popular with students both inside and outside the classroom, receiving the Faculty of Arts Teaching Award in 2000, and the UNB Student Union Teaching Excellence Merit Award in 2008. Perhaps his greatest benefit to the Department was his long-standing service, sympathetic and adroit, as undergraduate advisor. His lectures were a draw both in large first-year courses and in advanced-level and graduate seminars. He was an intimate part of the Department’s pioneering overseas study programs in Italy and Greece. Besides his tragically brief tenure as Chair of the Department of Classics at UNB, Dr. Geyssen long represented the Department with great skill and determination on several Faculty committees. He was instrumental in the creation of the interdisciplinary program in Archaeology at UNB.

Dr. Geyssen was also an accomplished scholar on a wide range of topics. He published Imperial Panegyric in Statius: A Literary Commentary on Silvae 1.1 in 1996, along with a continuing series of articles and book reviews on poetry and politics in the early Roman Empire, and Greek, Roman and Byzantine art and architecture. He was extremely active in the Classical Association of Canada, not only as a conference lecturer and session Chair, but also as the former editor of the electronic newsletter, Canadian Classical Bulletin, and the current co-editor of the scholarly journal Mouseion.

Visitation will be held at McAdam's Funeral Home, 160 York St., on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 from 6-8 pm. A memorial gathering will be held at Memorial Hall on the University of New Brunswick campus, on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 from 2-3 pm with Gary Waite as celebrant. Reception to follow at The Alden Nowlan House (The Grad House) at 676 Windsor St. from 3-6 pm.

For those who wish, donations to the Viator Award at UNB, which assists students in their studies abroad, would be appreciated.

The Canadian Classics community extends its condolences to Dr. Geyssen's family: his wife, Margaret, and children, Sean Geyssen and Rebecca (Andrew McGilligan) Geyssen.

Full obituary available at: