For those of you that know of American University of Rome (AUR) Art History Professor Terry Kirk, I hope I’m not the bearer of bad news, but he did pass away. I just found out today (11/3/09 – 9pm) by viewing the AUR home page. There was also a PDF attached detailing information for a memorial celebration on November 5th in Rome.
There was no more information on his passing other than the page stating that it was a “premature loss”. I emailed AUR this evening on 11/3/09 expressing my condolences and inquiring about any further details. My response yielded that Professor Kirk did appear to have committed suicide. However, it is not an official confirmation.
*Update on 12/9/2009*: I just read another blog regarding Professor Kirk by another former student of his, John James Anderson – you can find more details about his teaching’s impact, as well as his suicide here – In Memorium: Terry Kirk. There is also a great link to an article in the LA Times about Fascist Rome, with Professor Kirk referenced as an expert.
*A memorial website has been set up with much information regarding Professor Kirk and his work. Please visit the site, you’ll immediately recall the man who introduced you to all that is Rome.
So why is this such a big deal? If you are a former student of Professor Kirk, you’d know. He was probably one of the top 2 professors I ever had. He had the qualities of a great teacher: passion, drive, desire to teach, and love for students and the desire to get them to learn and be more than themselves.
Professor Kirk taught me the entry level course, Art of Rome, by far the most exciting class I ever took in my life. It was a 1 day a week, 3 hour class, held on site some where in Rome. The first class was…the Pantheon…excuse me, at the Pantheon! We met at the Forum, the Vatican Museums, various churches, and the Flavian Amphitheater (also incorrectly known as the Colosseum – something Professor Kirk instilled in all of us!). Now this was a class in which we were engaged with what we were learning! He even allowed parents/friends to come to class as long as they were willing to participate in the class discussion! It was a great learning environment, especially learning about everything we were seeing each week. I still have all my notes, papers, and handouts from his course. I figured that when I get back to Roma, I’ll have to pull out all the information he gave me to refresh my memory on everything I’ll be seeing again.
Therefore, in honor of Professor Kirk’s memory, I figured it was only suitable I show a video of him in action, what a dynamic speaker!
Thanks to my good RMU friend Mikey for filming and providing me the video!