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headshot of Sharon James
Sharon James

The Department of Classics at UNC-Chapel Hill announces with the utmost sadness that our colleague Sharon James died Thursday, Dec, 28. She passed away peacefully at home with her husband Corry Arnold and their dogs. Sharon was in her 25th year of teaching at Carolina, and had a major impact on so many lives as a prolific and influential scholar of Latin poetry and the study of women in antiquity; as an award-winning teacher at all levels; as a mentor to graduate students, undergraduates, and colleagues near and far; and through her unique and extensive service to the Department and to the field of Classics. Sharon’s commitment to teaching was very simply an outgrowth of an on-going conversation on ancient literature and society, one that she devoted herself to daily with her colleagues, graduate students, and undergraduates, both in the classroom and in daily encounters—a reflection of her love of the material, her commitment to the field and discipline, and her excellence as a scholar. She demanded of her students what she demanded of her colleagues and indeed of herself: excellence in scholarship and an unending effort to understand the text, the past, and the present.

The hole she leaves in our lives cannot be measured.  Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus / tam cari capitis?

Honoring Sharon’s wishes, there will be no funeral. Colleagues, friends, and family are strongly discouraged from sending flowers or similar gifts. If people feel compelled to make an offering, Corry has indicated that Sharon preferred that donations be made to the Animal Protection Society of Durham or an analogous organization protecting or sheltering pets.

To read more, see In Memory of Sharon James (by her students, T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (Ph.D. ’12), Christopher B. Polt (Ph.D. ’10), and Serena S. Witzke (Ph.D. ’14).

The Department of Classics

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