Students and faculty honored Margaret Fete and her dedication to students and French during a memorial service held last Tuesday.
Fete died on Dec. 24, 2011 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was a professor of modern foreign language at Ohio Wesleyan, and began her teaching career there in 1970.
Fete received degrees from Middlebury College and Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She taught introductory French and Spanish, as well as upper level French language, civilization and literature courses.
Junior Anna Cooper, said the service was fitting.
“Prof. Fete has personally been the most influential professor I’ve had at OWU, I was able to work with her for my first five semesters,” Cooper said. “She cared so much about her students and taught me how to be an informed student and helped me to develop a well-rounded, global perspective.”
Fete shared with students her extensive travel experiences in Europe.
The National Endowment for the Humanities granted her summer awards to pursue research on narrative fiction and film, l’ecriture feminine, criticism, theories of writing, language, and culture. She was published in the French Review and Notre Librairie.
Cooper said, “She wanted me to make the study my own, would ask me and help me develop it in the direction I wanted.
“She emphasized how important it is to understand the cultural context of your work and the background and life of the authors.”
The Modern Foreign Language department has suffered two deaths this acedemic year.
Susanna Bellocq, professor of French, died on Nov. 27, 2011.
Senior Laura Miske, MFL student board president, said these losses were hard on the department as a whole.
“As Dr. Rojas mentioned in his remembrance, we are now in a state of rebuilding rather than expansion,” Miske said. “Their passing has left a huge hole in the heart of the department that cannot just be quickly filled up again.”
“We are working to restructure the department in the time of this tragedy while keeping the integrity of the French department that Drs. Fete and Bellocq had so well established.”
Lee Fratantuono, associate professor of classics and William Whitlock professor of Latin, said the service was done respectfully and it was a proper goodbye to a professor who had taught at OWU for so long.
“Chaplain Powers and Sarah Dubois organized a wonderful service and the remarks by President Jones and Dean Stinemetz, a former student of Margaret’s, were especially welcome,” Fratantuono said.
“She also stressed the importance of asking questions to establish meaningful dialogue and making connections. The fact that she was on medical leave last semester but offered to take the time to work with me in an independent study shows how much she values her students.”