Robert Germany 1974–2017
The Associate Professor of Classics died on March 7. He was 42.
Associate Professor of Classics Robert Germany died yesterday, March 7, of a sudden cardiac arrest.
"Robert was a beloved colleague, mentor, and friend, and his sudden and untimely death is a terrible blow to our entire community," said President Kim Benston in a letter to the Haverford community. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert’s wife, Dianna, their four children (Grace, Ada, Elias, and Jack), his mother, Elizabeth, and all other members of his family."
Germany joined the Classics Department in the fall of 2008 from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Though he was a natural and beloved teacher, he never expected to end up in academia. In 2013 he told Haverford Magazine that he hated school and never intended to go to college, but after graduating from high school and spending two years on an independent academic journey, reading widely in English literature, theology, theater, and philosophy, he found that all roads do, in fact, lead to Rome and, without classical language skills, he had run up against the wall of what he could study on his own.
So Germany returned to the classroom, earning a B.A. in classics with minors in German and Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Chicago. He was particularly inspired by a stint spent as a teaching assistant in Athens, where he lived, traveled, and ate alongside his students and uncovered a more immersive way to teach and learn.
"I saw a glimmer of something where education wasn't hermetically sealed in classrooms and was a full body sport, and I loved it," he said. "I had no desire to separate myself from my students, and so, for me, the opportunity to live on campus at Haverford and have students over to my house a couple nights a week—I really thrive on that."
Germany hosted a weekly not-for-credit Greek reading group in his home in addition to his teaching load. He taught courses on Greek and Latin language, the ancient novel, Latin literature, and ancient comedy—the latter the subject of much of his own research. He received an Innovation in Teaching Award in 2011 with Associate Professor of Classics Bret Mulligan for the class they co-taught, "Culture and Crisis in the Golden Age of Athens," in which students created their own Athenian identities, wrote essays from the perspective of those characters, and embodied the Athenian Assembly in class.
A funeral will be held Saturday, March 11, at Saint Philip Orthodox Church (1970 Clearview Rd., Souderton, Pa.), with a viewing from from 10–11 a.m., service beginning at 11 a.m., and a reception to follow. A visitation will be held at Saint Philip Orthodox Church on Friday, March 10, from 5–7 p.m.
Robert's family has asked that donations in lieu of flowers may be directed to Haverford's Office of Institutional Advancement as the family considers how best to honor Robert's memory. People can make a note on their check that it is for Robert Germany "memorial gifts in lieu of flowers". They can add that same notation in the "Special Instructions" section on the Haverford gift form at www.haverford.edu/makeagift.
Personal donations to the Germany family to help with immediate expenses will be welcome via GoFundMe.