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Colleagues remember Vernon Chamberlin, professor emeritus of Spanish

Monday, February 03, 2020

LAWRENCE — Vernon Chamberlin, a University of Kansas professor emeritus who served the university for 34 years died Jan. 25 at his home. He was 95.

Born and raised in Topeka, Chamberlin earned his bachelor’s degree from Washburn University and his master’s degree and doctorate from KU, where he was a University Fellow. He later held academic appointments at UCLA (1957-1959), Oklahoma State University (1959-1962) and KU (1962-1996). In 1968, he was promoted to professor at the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, specializing in 19th-century Spanish literature.

Chamberlin published books as well as numerous articles, notes and book reviews in scholarly journals. He also served on editorial boards, belonged to several professional organizations and frequently presented papers at national and international conferences.

“One of my consistent memories of Vern stretching from our first meeting during my 1987 KU job interview through the last time we coincided at a KU faculty talk in spring 2014 was that, no matter how far afield from his own interests the topic, he always listened with interest and always dignified the speaker's work with a thoughtful question or comment,” said Vicky Unruh, professor emerita of Spanish. “And throughout that spring of 2014, my last semester teaching at KU, frequent on-campus sightings of Vern on his bicycle 18 years after his own ‘retirement’ provided both reassuring continuity and inspiration for a soon-to-be retiree.”

There will not be a public service, as the family has chosen to celebrate his life privately. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.


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