Aaron William Godfrey, Rara Avis, RIP

Glenn Ricketts

The National Association of Scholars mourns the passing of long-time member Aaron “Bill” Godfrey, who passed away earlier this month. He was 91 years of age and had been a member of NAS almost from its inception.

Bill attended our first national conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan in November 1988 and was also an early member of our New York state affiliate. He was a natural fit for NAS: For more than 50 years he was the rarest of rare birds as the sole instructor of Latin in the Department of European Languages at SUNY Stony Brook. He had left a far more lucrative career in finance and banking and followed an irresistible vocation to teach classics, which he began to do at Stony Brook in 1965. In that capacity, he kept the “dead” language very much alive and lively for several generations of secondary school Latinists who stayed connected with their former magister through the regular meetings of the Suffolk Classical Society which he hosted in his home. A prolific scholar, Bill was the author of Medieval Mosaic, a Latin textbook, along with hundreds of articles in both academic and popular venues. He also served as president of Stony Brook’s faculty senate, as a member of the President’s Council of the Stony Brook Museum and, with his wife, as co-president of the Long Island Symphonic Choral Association.

We are very grateful for Bill’s long association with the NAS and for his yeoman service in promoting and preserving one of the pillars of traditional liberal arts education. Requiescat in Pace: Lingua Latina Manet in Aeternam.


Photo credit: Stony Brook University, College of Arts and Sciences

  • Share

Most Commented

May 7, 2024

1.

Creating Students, Not Activists

The mobs desecrating the American flag, smashing windows, chanting genocidal slogans—this always was the end game of the advocates of the right to protest, action civics, student activ......

March 9, 2024

2.

A Portrait of Claireve Grandjouan

Claireve Grandjouan, when I knew her, was Head of the Classics Department at Hunter College, and that year gave a three-hour Friday evening class in Egyptian archaeology....

April 20, 2024

3.

The Academic's Roadmap

By all means, pursue your noble dream of improving the condition of humanity through your research and teaching. Could I do it all again, I would, but I would do things very differently....

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010

2.

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

September 21, 2010

3.

Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....