North American Scholar

PHINNEY, Edward Sterl, Jr

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1935-12-15
  • Born City: Bryan
  • Born State/Country: TX
  • Parents: Edward & Marie Elizabeth Wilson P.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1996-04-11
  • Death City: Northampton
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Catherine Davis, 20 March 1959.
  • Education:

    B.A. (English) U. Oregon, 1957; M.A. Classics, 1959; Ph.D. U. California, Berkeley, 1963.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. To Assoc. prof. U. Southern California, 1962-69; Excellence in teaching award, 1968; Assoc. prof. u. Mass. Amherst, 1969-73; prof. classics, 1973-96; faculty dir., For. Lang. Resource Ctr, 1985-96; dist. Teaching award, 1977; pres. ACL, 1986-90, Chairman, Eta Sigma Phi, 1988-96.

  • Dissertation:

    “Apollonius Rhodius (U. California, Berkeley, 1963)

  • Publications:

    Salvete!, Lingo (1995); ed. Cambridge Latin Course, 3rd ed., 1988-91.

  • Notes:

    After beginning his career at the University of Southern California, Ed moved to the University of Massachusetts, where he taught for more than twenty-six years. Ed was both distinguished teacher, winning awards at USC and UMass, and able administrator, who chaired the Classics Depart­ment for twelve years. An advocate of educational technol­ogy and long-distance learning, Ed was also the faculty adviser to the Foreign Language Lab. Ed's scholarly interests ranged from Hellenistic poetry to modern Greek literature to Latin pedagogy. He was an innovator in Latin education, revising the Cambridge Latin Course for American students. Ed truly believed that Clas­sics should be accessible to everyone and he backed his words with deeds. He lent support to secondary school teachers in myriad ways, through innovative pedagogy and masterful networking. He made major contributions to the American Classical League, Eta Sigma Phi, the Massachusetts Foreign Language Asso­ciation, and the National Greek Exam. Ed also chaired the ACL-APA Joint Committee on Classics in American Education. He served as President of the Pioneer Valley Classical Association and the Classical Association of Mas­sachusetts, both of which he founded. Many of these activities also enriched our own M.A.T. students to whom Ed regularly taught a course in methods of teaching Latin. Every semester Ed taught more than 500 undergraduates a course in classical mythology. This was popularly known as "the Phinney course" and was con­sidered part of the UMass experience. When Ed entered the stadium at Commencement, students stood on their chairs and cheered. Brilliant teacher, patient and careful administrator, kind friend, Ed is greatly mourned by his colleagues, his many friends inside and outside of Classics, and his students.

  • Sources:

    APA Newsletter (June 1996) 12-13; DAS 6th ed., 3:362.

    Image: Milwaukie (OR) High School yearbook 1951.

  • Author: Elizabeth Keitel