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Wednesday, Dec. 6
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Death of professor emeritus sparks reflection

Lawrence M. Clopper, professor emeritus of English and former director of the Medieval Studies Institute, died Saturday evening.

Raised in the rural spaces of Maryland, Clopper obtained his bachelor’s degree in English in 1963 from Johns Hopkins University.

He then went on to earn his master’s and doctorate degree from The Ohio State University.

The Buckeye alumnus joined the IU faculty in 1969 with intentions of working in the English department.

However, he redirected his interests and his teaching toward medieval literature.  

Gina Brandolino, lecturer at the Sweetland Center for Writing and the Department of English at the University of Michigan, and former teaching assistant to the late professor, still remembers the first time she met him.

“I met Larry pretty early on when I came to do my graduate work at IU in 1997,” Brandolino said in an email.

“I was a student in two of his courses, and I also was a teaching assistant in a large undergraduate course. I feel especially fortunate to have both been a student of Larry’s and to have taught with him.”

Clopper produced a series of publications throughout his academic career, including “Drama, Play and Game: English Festive Culture in the Medieval and Early Modern Period,” which won the David Bevington Award from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.

In the classroom, Thomas Goodmann, associate professor at University of Miami, said Clopper imparted more information than content alone.

“It was as much about how you learn rather than any particular information he was imparting,” Goodmann said.

Clopper became director of the Medieval Studies Institute in 1991, and he served multiple terms in the position throughout the 1990s.

“Professor Clopper was director of the Medieval Studies Institute during its most active and productive phase, in the 1990s,” professor emerita Sheila Lindenbaum said in an email.

“His distinguished scholarship, kindly professionalism and the delight he took in his work were an inspiration to many graduate students at that time.”

Both Goodmann and Brandolino were under the direction of Clopper during their graduate studies at the University.

The former graduate students said they remember him fondly as both a great influence in their professional careers and a very giving man.

“If there’s one word that sums up what Larry was to me and to all of us was that he was a figure of endless generosity, and we will miss him deeply,” Goodmann said.

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