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George F. Osmun

June 28, 2010

Dr. George F. Osmun, a distinguished member of the Department of Languages and Linguistics faculty at Western Michigan University, died May 23, 2009, it was recently learned. He was 87.

Osmun came to WMU in 1964 and was appointed head of the classics section in 1984. He retired as a professor with emeritus status in 1987 after 22 years of service to the University.

A former high school and college teacher, Osmun taught Greek, Latin and classics in English translation courses. He wrote the book "The Motif of Night in Roman Poetry" and the textbook "A Greek Mythological Reader Based on Palaephatus and Apollodorus."

In addition, Osmun lectured widely and wrote numerous scholarly articles that appeared in publications such as Classical Journal and Classical Philology. He also received a Fulbright grant in 1957 to study at the American Academy in Rome.

Osmun served as an undergraduate advisor, was active in the Faculty Senate as well as a variety of campuswide and departmental organizations and committees, and for all but one year of its existence, co-directed the biennial Foreign Language Tournament at WMU that drew scores of high school students from area schools.

He also was an active member and officer of such professional organizations as the Michigan Classical Conference, which he served as president in 1975-76; Michigan Foreign Language Association, which he served as first vice president and chief officer in 1975-76; and Classical Association of the Middle West and South.

A former high school and college teacher, Osmun earned a bachelor's degree from Lafayette College in 1943, master's degree from Columbia University in 1947 and doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in 1953.

His background included teaching stints at such institutions as the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; University of Texas, Austin; and University of Iowa.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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