Claudette Kemper Columbus
Professor of English Emerita
Professor of English Emerita Claudette Columbus honored by the Hobart Alumni Association and the William Smith Alumnae Association with the Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA) during Reunion 2014.
A member of the English Department faculty from 1969 until her retirement in 2003, Columbus taught the literature of late-18th and 19th-century authors, including John Ruskin, Charles Dickens and Robert Browning. She also studied native Andean practices with two Fulbright grants that enabled her to visit Peru, and additional grants from Hobart and William Smith. Columbus was instrumental in instituting the ombuds men and women at the Colleges, and in creating the HWS Women's Studies and Latin American Studies programs.
Columbus received a B.A. from Bucknell University, a M.A. with high honors from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her articles, published in a number of professional journals, range from essays on major figures in the English Romantic and Victorian periods to essays on Latin American subjects, on which she has written two books. She led several semesters of off-campus study to London and Ecuador, and in 2003, received the HWS Faculty Prize for Teaching. She was also awarded faculty prizes for community service and scholarship.
Her scholarship has continued even after her retirement from HWS. In 2013, "at the ridiculous age of 80," as Columbus says, she was invited to present a paper at the centenary celebration of a major Peruvian author's birth; the paper was published later that year.