Skip to Content

Vanderbilt News

Memorial service set for Russian professor David Lowe

by | Posted on Thursday, Apr. 14, 2011 — 1:30 PM

David Lowe (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)

A memorial service for emeritus professor David Lowe is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 16 in Buttrick Hall, Room 102.

Lowe, an expert in Russian literature who taught at Vanderbilt for three decades, died April 9. He was 63.

Lowe was well-known for his translations – he published collections of the letters of Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostovevsky – and the book Russian Writing since 1953: A Critical Survey. He retired last year with the title professor of Slavic languages and literatures, emeritus.

In addition to writing extensively about 19th century Russian authors, he wrote the first detailed study of Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. He also wrote about opera, examining its representation in Russian literature and compiling and editing the letters of Maria Callas.

Lowe served on most of the College of Arts and Science committees, as well as on the Faculty Senate and its committees. He was recognized for outstanding freshman advising at Vanderbilt and was a highly regarded and sought-out authority on Russian literature.

A native of Carlinville, Ill., Lowe earned his Ph.D. in Russian literature from Indiana University in 1977 and came to Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor in 1979.

Contact:
Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS
jim.patterson@vanderbilt.edu


  • Sergey Dudin

    I’m so sorry… He was a very, very good friend!

  • Emily Rusnak

    I am so very sad to hear of this news.  I just watched the commencement recently when Dr. Lowe was named an emeritus faculty member.  My condolences go out to his family and friends.  He was a great professor!

  • Dustin Swysgood

    Very sad news. His Stalinist Russia class was the best elective I took while at Vanderbilt.

  • Michael O’Brien

    David was a highly intelligent & articulate individual who was able to pursue his passions for the Russian language & literature and for opera throughout his life.  His knowledge, insights & scholarship will live on in his published works, as well as in the minds & hearts of the students, collegues, & friends who knew him.

  • Mary Powell Curtis

    I was one of the fortunate people who knew David from growing up together in Carlinville, Il.  He was always bright, witty and kind.  None of us were surprised that he had such a outstanding career in whatever  he endeavored. David’s love for music, Russian history and people were some of his many attributes.  I was blessed to be able to visit with David at our last high school reunion.  It was as if I saw him everyday of my life, but  I hadn’t seen him since his freshman year in college.  There are many people that cross your path in life.  I am thankful David crossed mine and I was able to call him friend.

    • http://www.vanderbilt.edu Melanie Moran

      Thank you for sharing this, Ms. Curtis.

  • Thomas Heinz

    David Lowe was brilliant, articulate, and passionate about music, language and all things Russian. He was the first person I ever knew who liked opera. (He and his father took me to two operas, the only ones I ever attended.) I know he was an outstanding professor even though I never attended one of his classes. I know all these things because he was my best friend for several years growing up in Carlinville, Illinois. He was one of the first friends I ever had, as his folks lived down the street from my parents during the early years that his father taught music at Blackburn College. About 10 years ago I gave David a photo I found while cleaning out my parents’ house. It showed the two of us in strollers as our mothers were talking. During the next 16 years, we had spy clubs, foreign language clubs, put on plays, sang in church choir (and All State Chorus) together, camped out, double dated with our girlfriends, and stayed up talking until dawn. When he graduated high school a year early, we lost contact for several years. But in the past 15 years David made contact again with many of his childhood friends. He had come back home for reunions, both formal and informal. And while decades had passed, it was as though we had never been apart. A couple of years later I took my son on a tour of colleges in the Southeastern U.S., and we were welcomed into David’s home in Nashville for a night. During that visit, David discussed his upcoming retirement, and he vowed to come to Chicago where he and I would attend a performance at the Lyric Opera. Unfortunately, that trip never took place. We lost David far too early. He was a unique individual, and we will miss him very much. But, oh, what memories he left us with!

  • Firouzeh Nur-Vaccaro

    So sad to hear the news of Professor Lowe’s passing! u00a0I have such fond memories of his classes. u00a0No other professor ever brought so much enthusiasm and such a bright spirit to his classes as he did. u00a0Every morning, to get all the groggy college students to wake up he would come in singing, and would make us stand up and sing too. u00a0Before we could even speak in Russian, he had us singing in Russian. Twenty years later, I still have those song sheets. u00a0He was always so humble, insisting that he not be addressed as “Dr. Lowe,” and so full of encouragement for his students. u00a0His classes were so much fun that many of us went on to major in Russian despite not having any such inclination in the beginning. u00a0 He will always be remembered by the many students who took his courses.

  • Firouzeh Nur-Vaccaro

    So sad to hear the news of Professor Lowe’s passing! u00a0I have such fond memories of his classes. u00a0No other professor ever brought so much enthusiasm and such a bright spirit to his classes as he did. u00a0Every morning, to get all the groggy college students to wake up he would come in singing, and would make us stand up and sing too. u00a0Before we could even speak in Russian, he had us singing in Russian. Twenty years later, I still have those song sheets. u00a0He was always so humble, insisting that he not be addressed as “Dr. Lowe,” and so full of encouragement for his students. u00a0His classes were so much fun that many of us went on to major in Russian despite not having any such inclination in the beginning. u00a0 He will always be remembered by the many students who took his courses.

  • Firouzeh Nur-Vaccaro

    So sad to hear the news of Professor Lowe’s passing! u00a0I have such fond memories of his classes. u00a0No other professor ever brought so much enthusiasm and such a bright spirit to his classes as he did. u00a0Every morning, to get all the groggy college students to wake up he would come in singing, and would make us stand up and sing too. u00a0Before we could even speak in Russian, he had us singing in Russian. Twenty years later, I still have those song sheets. u00a0He was always so humble, insisting that he not be addressed as “Dr. Lowe,” and so full of encouragement for his students. u00a0His classes were so much fun that many of us went on to major in Russian despite not having any such inclination in the beginning. u00a0 He will always be remembered by the many students who took his courses.



VU Tweets