Remembering Boston University faculty members
Former College of Fine Arts director of opera programs, on June 20 2008
Bishop, the director of opera programs and head of BU’s Opera Workshop from 1970 to 1984, was a celebrated soprano who performed on Broadway and with the New York City Opera and the Boston Opera Group.
Bishop was praised for her expressive physicality and the personality she brought to her roles. It was a talent she tried to pass along to her students, says Jeffrey Stevens, a CFA repertory coach and the current music director of the Opera Workshop.
“She could be demonstrating to a baritone how an old fisherman might walk one moment, and then show a soprano how a seventeenth-century noblewoman might employ her fan,” he says.
Despite a deep trove of patience, Bishop would occasionally throw up her hands when students lacked her grace. “She sometimes would hang a sign on her office door that read, ‘I have temporarily lost the will to continue,’ and that meant that one didn’t knock,” Stevens remembers. “But she would pretty quickly return to her optimistic, encouraging self.”
Bishop had retired from the stage by the time she arrived at BU in the mid-1960s. She sang first on Broadway, in a revival of Blossom Time and in The Girl From Nantucket. In 1948, she made her debut with the New York City Opera in Rigoletto; the same year, she sang Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia on Broadway. She stayed on with the New York City Opera through 1960, while occasionally singing under Sarah Caldwell with the Boston Opera Group. An advocate of contemporary American music, she performed in world premieres of such works as Six Characters in Search of an Author and The Stronger.
She was perhaps best known for creating the title role in Griffelkin, a 1955 opera that premiered on NBC’s Opera Theatre. Singing “like an inspired choirboy,” as an Opera News review phrased it, Bishop brought an impish sense of wonder to the role of a young devil too nice to make it in hell. She had played another signature role — Adele in Die Fledermaus — on the NBC program in 1950.
After Bishop's retirement, Bishop began a second career as an opera instructor and administrator. In addition to her work at BU, she was chair of the opera department and director of Opera Theatre at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, from 1982 to 1993. “Her work with students gave her immense pleasure,” Stevens says. — Katie Koch (CAS’09, COM’09)
Richard Speidel (CAS’84, LAW’86)
Age 75, former School of Law dean and professor, on September 6, 2008
As a lawyer, Speidel was known as an expert in the field of contracts and on arbitration.
He cowrote the five-volume Federal Arbitration Law: Agreements, Awards, and Remedies Under the Federal Arbitration Act, with Ian R. Macneil and Thomas J. Stipanowich.
He was a former member of the National Association of Securities Dealers arbitration task force that examined arbitration in the securities industry, and he was the director of an influential study that recommended revisions to the Uniform Commercial Code concerning sales laws in all fifty states.
Speidel began his teaching career in 1961 at the University of Virginia, where he taught for sixteen years before coming to Boston University. After three years as dean and a professor at BU’s School of Law, he became a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law, where he remained from 1980 to 2003. In the years before his death, he was a tenured half-time faculty member at the University of San Diego School of Law. — Jessica Leving (COM'10)
Carl E. Willgoose
Age 92, School of Education professor emeritus of education, on July 6, 2008
Willgoose (SED’39,’40) returned to SED as a professor of education and coordinator of health education in 1960, after doing graduate work at Columbia University and earning a doctorate in education from Syracuse University.
Willgoose wrote eighteen college textbooks, including Health Education in the Elementary School and Measurement and Evaluation in Health and Physical Education.
He was a fellow of the American Public Health and the American School Health associations, a charter fellow of the American Association for Health Education, and a founding member and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. — Jessica Leving (COM'10)
Age 76, School of Medicine professor of medicine, on April 4, 2008
An honored recipient of the School of Medicine’s James L. Tullis Leadership Award for Distinguished Study in 1979, Cathcart was a prolific medical writer who made many important contributions to the study of rheumatology and arthritis.
He joined the MED faculty in 1961, and by 1977, he was a professor of medicine. In 1984, he became chief of staff at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts.
Cathcart received international recognition for his study of amyloid proteins, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, bone marrow cancer, and chronic inflammatory disease.