William Van Watson, formerly Visiting Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Arizona, died suddenly in Tucson AZ on May 8, 2014 at the age of 55.
Van received his PhD in theatre from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1987, with a minor in Italian and a minor in film studies. He most recently held a Visiting Associate Professor position at the University of Arizona for 13 years.
Van was a committed instructor and mentor who imparted to his students a deep love for "everything Italian'. It can be argued that his courses were the core of the Italian Studies track: advancing teaching and interdisciplinary scholarship committed to preserving the connections between Italian literature and film. Despite his grueling teaching commitments, Van will be remembered for being a diligent and persistent scholar. He attended conferences on a regular basis, and published articles and book chapters but struggled to finish his second book on Pier Paolo Pasolini. Days before he died he wrote to friends to announce that he had finally completed his manuscript.
The impact of Van's death was first announced on his Facebook page, causing a widespread feeling of shock as tributes began to pour in. For his students he was an amazing role model, and an inspiration.
Outside of his work Van loved to travel, and visit Europe; Italy in particular. He loved to cook, he amassed a huge collection of DVDs and CDs, visited friends and explored every corner of Tucson.
Rather than mourn his passing, Van would prefer that his friends, family and colleagues come together to celebrate his life. Thus, Van's friends the Rev. Rick Wilson and Beatrice D'Arpa, Italian Adj. Faculty (UA Dept. of French and Italian) will be hosting a Celebration of Life Memorial as follows:
Date: Date: Saturday, October 25, 2014
Time: 5:00 pm
Campus Christian Center
715 N. Park
Tucson, AZ 85719
Potluck Reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the William Van Watson Memorial Scholarship Award, which will consist of a one-time cash award to a University of Arizona student to defray costs of the Italian Study Abroad program. Please click on the follow link to make your donation. The scholarship winner will be announced via the AATI Listserv.
Click here to donate to he William Van Watson Memorial Scholarship Award