Volume 92, Issue 56

Thursday, January, 1999

in the books


Talks to change student loans begin

Professor killed in car accident

Directories finally find their way to campus

High schools take notes

Campus parking cost on the rise


Caught on campus

Professor killed in car accident

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

The Western community is mourning the loss of one of its professors after a tragic accident occurred in France over the holidays.

Kristen Brady, an English professor, passed away Dec. 20 in Montpellier, France as the result of a head-on collision with another vehicle on a narrow country road. Her husband Richard Hillman, who is also an English professor at Western, is recovering in a hospital in France. Her son Malcolm was uninjured.

Patrick Deane, chair of the English department, said the other vehicle crossed the line and collided with her car, which was being driven by her husband. "The department is in a state of deep shock," Deane said. "She was a very much loved member of the department – she is deeply mourned here."

Jean Pierre Paquet, consular officer for Western Europe for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, contacted the Canadian Embassy in France who informed him the police department in Montpellier was unwilling to release any information about the accident without the consent of Hillman, who was too emotional to be contacted.

Paquet added the police are still investigating the accident.

Brady, who received her master of arts and PhD in English literature from the University of Toronto, was appointed to Western's English department in 1982 and had been a full professor since 1993. Brady, along with her husband, were on sabbatical in France where she had been working on a book about the image of the Gypsy in literature.

Brady's field was 19th century literature and she was a world respected expert on Thomas Hardy, Deane said.

Katherine McKenna, director of women's studies and feminist research, said Brady had been involved in the women's studies program since it began, both on its steering committee and through teaching courses. "This was a great shock to us. It is a real tragedy," she said.

"The students really appreciated her. She was a very popular professor and a cheerful, supportive and friendly person," McKenna added.

When McKenna first began working for the women's studies program last year Brady was very helpful. "She gave me a lot of support. She was a valued colleague – we were looking forward to her coming back," McKenna said.

Kirsten Munro, a PhD English student, said she knew Brady for 10 years and was doing her thesis under Brady's supervision. "She was a really fabulous teacher. She was very well admired by students, especially women's studies students, because she was an example of what a female scholar could accomplish," Munro said.

She added when she decided to approach Brady about doing her thesis under her, she was more than willing to help out. "She was always willing to give extra help."

A memorial will be held at Western for Brady on Jan. 15 in Room 224 of University College, Deane said. "Anyone who would like to go is welcome to attend," he said.

Deane added they will be establishing a scholarship in Brady's name and contributions can be made through the English department.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999