Boston University Faculty Members Remembered
Joseph Bertram “Bert” Kessel
Former chair, department of physical education, 91, on March 9, 2010
Kessel, whose career at BU spanned nearly three decades, taught physical education, chaired the department, and administered Sargent Camp. His interest in physical fitness extended beyond his job, however. He was active throughout his life, biking, gardening, and working out in his basement gym, and he advocated exercise after retirement to stay in shape.
“He liked to do sports up until the very end,” his granddaughter, Grace Egbert, told the Boston Globe. “He loved exercise and breaking a sweat.”
Kessel was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1918. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1940, where he was cocaptain of the football team, he was a social worker in settlement houses in Youngstown, Ohio.
A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps during World War II, he served in the division that led the invasion of Iwo Jima in 1945 and later took command of the company. He received the Silver Star for gallantry at Iwo Jima. During the postwar occupation of Japan, as well as in Hawaii, he directed recreation and education programs for 2,000 men.
After the war, he earned a master’s degree and a doctorate at Columbia University. He taught at Penn State for three years and spent two years with the National Education Association in Washington, D.C., before joining the staff at BU. When he retired, he was special assistant to the provost.
“People really respected him,” Joan Kessel, his wife of 60 years, told the Globe, “and he made life fun.”
He served on the board of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, on Roxbury and South End garden projects. He was an active member of First Parish Unitarian Church in Lincoln, Mass., and of town committees and the library.
College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of history, 90, on April 13, 2010
and lived in the United States, but Italy was the country closest to his heart. He dedicated his academic career to the study of Italian history, literature, art, and society. The Italian studies program, which he established, enabled BU students to share his passion.
Born in 1919 in Dusseldorf, Schumann studied at the University of Rome, where he developed a love for the country, particularly its medieval history. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University.
After graduating, he was a private in the U.S. Army during World War II and used his native German to translate Adolf Hitler’s last will and testament. Schumann retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant colonel and later returned to Harvard to earn a PhD.
In 1963, Schumann and his family settled permanently in Concord, Mass., and he began teaching history at Harvard and at BU. He became an assistant professor at BU in 1967 and a professor in 1980.
Schumann introduced Italian studies at BU in 1982 with the help of Saul Engelbourg, a CAS professor emeritus of history. Schumann was the director of the program, overseeing the development of the undergraduate portion, the center in Padua, Italy, the Italian House on Bay State Road, and a long-running lecture series, until his retirement in 1989.
In a recent history department newsletter, Engelbourg wrote that Schumann’s legacy remains. “Without his enterprise, enthusiasm, and leadership,” Engelbourg said, “none of this would have happened.”
In 1987, the Italian Consul General knighted Schumann for his service to Italy as a historian. Schumann gave his final lecture series at the University of Parma, Italy, in 2005. — Samantha DuBois (COM’12)
Donald J. Winslow (GRS’42)
College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of English and former chair of the English department, 98, on July 10, 2010
Winslow was an English department faculty member for 41 years, and was chair from 1952 to 1962. He was a highly regarded authority on the novelist Thomas Hardy, and wrote many articles for the Thomas Hardy Journal.
Winslow was born in 1911, in Karandon House, on the campus of Lasell Junior College (now Lasell College). He was the son of Guy M. Winslow, for many years president of the college, and he had a lifelong association with the institution. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at Tufts University and a PhD at BU. He joined the English department in 1936 and retired in 1977.
A complete obituary will appear in the Winter–Spring 2011 issue of Bostonia.