Laughter and tears were intertwined as friends and faculty members held a memorial service for Diane Hunter, who was acting head of the Freshman English program and a doctoral candidate at the University. Hunter died suddenly last week at Bryn Mawr Hospital, just five weeks after learning she had cancer. Over 150 people packed Rosenwald Gallery in Van Pelt Library last night, each with their own remembrance and anecdote of the teacher, colleague and friend they knew. Colleagues fondly recalled Hunter's meticulous work, students remembered her energetic lectures and friends memorialized her caring attitude and her infectious laugh. Penelope Laurans, an associate dean at Yale University, knew Hunter when Hunter taught at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. She said she admired the English teacher, describing her as young, attractive, engaged to be married and involved in her work. Laurans recounted the way she used to spy on Hunter as she walked the grounds of the Baldwin School with her fiance, Peter Hunter. She remembered Hunter as a caring teacher who involved herself with all of her students. "You all believe you had a special relationship with her," Laurans said. "You all did." David Anderson, an English graduate student, recalled meeting Hunter, his first acquaintance on campus. She soon became a surrogate mother and a caring friend who changed those she worked with. "Diane Hunter changed people's lives . . . one student at a time, one person at a time," Anderson said. Hunter's daughter, Katherine, vividly described her mother's dedication to teaching even in the face of her own tragedy. During her mother's five-week battle with cancer, Katherine said her mother continued to grade papers until the day before she died, and encouraged her students to continue their academic pursuit. "She was the best mother and wife our family could have had," Katherine Hunter said. "She loved with a fierce, deep loyalty." Other members of the English department said Hunter was an excellent teacher, a knowledgeable student and a kind friend. After the hour-long remembrance, which ended in a standing ovation for Hunter's life and achievements, University students and teachers clustered around each other -- hugging each other, remembering their friend and expressing their shock over her sudden death. The English department is starting a Diane Hunter fund in her memory. John Richetti, chairperson of the English department, said the annual award would be given to the best student dissertation.Comments powered by Disqus
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