Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,
I am writing to share the sad news that Marjorie and Robert W. McEwen Professor of English Emeritus, William Rosenfeld P ’82, ’84 died peacefully on Sunday, May 14, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. He was 97.
Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Bill received his bachelor’s degree from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1951, his master’s degree in 1954 and Ph.D. in 1961 from the University of Minnesota. He taught at the University of Maine, Wilmington College, Central Michigan University, and Baldwin-Wallace College before arriving on College Hill in 1969 as an associate professor of creative writing at Kirkland College. Bill was professor of creative writing and chair of the Arts Division at Kirkland from 1972 to 1975, before serving as a Fulbright lecturer in Yugoslavia. After returning to the U.S., he joined the Hamilton College faculty in 1978 as professor of English and was named to the McEwen Chair in 1991 in recognition of his “great and continuing contributions to the College as teacher, scholar, and colleague.” Bill retired from Hamilton on Jan. 1, 1996.
Colleagues said he was “a truly gifted classroom teacher” whose evaluations were “rich with praise for him both as a teacher and as a member of the community.” His scholarship was described as “strong, continuous, and of high quality,” and he had a strong interest in Macedonian literature. The William Rosenfeld Chapbook Prize in Creative Writing was established in his honor.
In addition to numerous publications – including his 2013 book Garibaldi and Rio Grande do Sul’s War of Independence from Brazil –The Memoirs of Luigi Rossetti, John Griggs, and Anita Garibaldi – Bill edited My Window Is a Line, an annual anthology of writers residing in retirement homes.
Bill and his wife, Irma, collaborated on translations of Macedonian folktales. They were married for 67 years and had three children: Daniel ’82, Andrew ’84, and Nina. On behalf of the College, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family.