To the Williams community,
I write today with sad news of a retired faculty member who has passed away. Charles “Charlie” Fuqua, Garfield Professor of Ancient Languages, emeritus, who taught at the college for 37 years, died on January 19 at his Williamstown home. He was 83.
The son of an American diplomat, Charlie was born in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine and grew up in Arlington, Va. He graduated from Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C., and Princeton University, followed by three years of active duty in the U.S. Navy and 11 years in the reserves, from which he retired as Lieutenant Commander. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in classics from Cornell, where he met and married his wife of 57 years, Mary Louise Morse, with whom he had three children.
Charlie taught at Dartmouth for two years before joining the faculty at Williams in 1966 as chair of the Department of Classics. He taught Greek and Latin here until his retirement in 2003 and served on numerous college committees, including the Committee on Educational Policy, the Committee on Priorities and Resources, the Faculty Steering Committee, and the Academic Standards, Library and Discipline Committees. In addition, he chaired the committee that oversaw planning for the construction of Sawyer Library and the renovation of Stetson Hall. Charlie earned some renown as author of the “Fuqua Letter,” which pioneered the concept of transparency in the higher education tenure process. Bridging his lives on campus and in the community, he also helped establish the Williams College Employees Federal Credit Union, which has since become part of the Greylock Federal Credit Union.
A prolific writer, Charlie published articles on Homer, Horace, Vergil, and, especially, Greek tragedy. His article on the ostracism of Hyperbolus and several essays on Greek tragedy had a significant impact long after their publication. Always engaged in a scholarly project, his publications covered topics ranging from Greek history to literary analyses of the Hellenistic poet Posidippus.
A lifelong learner and educator, Charlie is remembered by colleagues and former students for his warmth, enthusiasm, good humor, and love for teaching. “Charlie was a gentleman of the old school,” says his longtime colleague and friend Meredith Hoppin, Frank M. Gagliardi Professor of Classics, emerita. “He contained worlds, and he gave of those worlds to his students and colleagues at Williams.” In 2009, the Fuqua Tutorial was established in his honor.
For many years Charlie was a dedicated volunteer for Hospice of Northern Berkshire. After retirement he also volunteered as a tutor at the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster, Vt., and continued his scholarly studies of the ancient world. Ever the character, he was often seen tooling around Williamstown and the area in his distinctive yellow Mini.
Charlie is survived by his wife and three children, Andrew, Gillian and David; brothers Nick and Paul; and granddaughter Madeleine Miller.
A memorial service will be held for Charles Fuqua at Saints Patrick and Raphael Church in Williamstown, at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 25. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donations to the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children.
Our thoughts are with Charlie’s family, colleagues and many friends.
Maud S. Mandel
Professor of History; Program in Jewish Studies