Jean M. D'Amato-Thomas (2010)

Jean M. D'Amato-Thomas was born on July 20, 1945, in Boston. She received a B.A. form Tufts in 1967, and M.A. from Middlebury in 1969, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1978. Earlyin her career she taught at Williams, Tufts, Brandeis, and the University of Pittsburgh. From 1988 to her death she was professor of Classics at the Louisiana Scholars' College at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She received a Mildred Hart Bailey Award for research at Northwestern and recently an American Philosophical Association grant to study ancient works in southwest Italy. She had long experience as with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies at Stanford and as a Program Officer at the NEH. Jean was noted primarily as a tireless teacher who won an award for teaching at the University of Southern California and who cheerfully led packs of enthusiastic students across the historic sites of Italy, but not to the exclusion of post-classical Italian culture. She had a keen interest in operas drawn from ancient history or mythology, and an evening at the opera was the highlight of every trip. Her husband, Fleming Thomas, predeceased her. Jean died following a brief illness on March 9, 2010, in Natchitoches.

1 comment:

  1. T Davina McClainApril 9, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    It is truly hard to describe Jean, but at her funeral, one of her colleagues and best friends described her as a bodhi satva - someone who was wise and felt the suffering of others and took that suffering on herself as she gave to all who needed her help. Jean was a selfless, generous person who loved teaching, was devoted to her students, pushed them to be better scholars and better people. She founded NSU Tutors, a program that now tutors students in the high schools and middle schools in Natchitoches, LA. She was an advisor for NSU's chapter of Eta Sigma Phi. She was a passionate, fiery Bostonian, who loved the Red Sox, hated the Yankees, and who amused her students with her "Spahta" in her lectures about the ancient world. Words will never capture all that Jean was and all that she meant to her students, her friends and colleagues, or to Scholars' College and Northwestern State University. A fund has been established in her honor to create a scholarship to support study abroad - one of her real passions for her students - through the Northwestern State University Foundation.