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In Memoriam: Richard Sheirich

Emeritus Professor of German Richard Sheirich
Richard Sheirich and his wife Perdita with former Alumni Director Lee Harlan '55 (on left) at the 2010 Alumni Weekend

Richard Sheirich and his wife Perdita with former Alumni Director Lee Harlan '55 (on left) at the 2010 Alumni Weekend

Emeritus Professor of German Richard Sheirich passed away yesterday at the age of 84.

A graduate of Colgate University, Professor Sheirich earned a master’s degree at Northwestern and held a DAAD Fellowship at the Universität Hamburg before receiving his PhD from Harvard. After stints at Colgate and the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Pomona College faculty in 1965, and for 31 years taught courses in German language, literature and culture ranging, he said, from early tribal migrations to the Cold War and reunification. He simultaneously conducted research on Viennese poet, novelist, and playwright Richard Beer-Hofmann, producing a number of articles as well as an edition of Beer-Hofmann’s correspondence, Der Briefwechsel mit Paula, 1896-1937.  In the 1990s he led a major grant-funded project, “German across the Curriculum,” to better integrate the study of German into non-language courses in the humanities and social sciences at the Claremont Colleges. 

He also served on the Alumni Council and, more recently, on the Emeriti Committee.  Upon retiring, Professor Sheirich expressed his gratitude for the fact that “one becomes a part of college life, yes, but it works the other way, too. The College, and a surprising number of students, also become a part of our lives.” Many in the Pomona community will miss seeing him walk with his wife, Perdita, who is the editor of the Pomona College Magazine's "Class Notes" section, to and from their home near campus in the early evening.

If you wish to submit a personal memory or tribute to Sheirich, please email and we will post it below.

Personal Tributes

My fondest memory of Professor Sheirich is from 1967, during the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the underdog Boston Red Sox.  Relaying a bit of news about a  development in one of the games, Professor Sheirich excitedly told the class, "The 'Bostons' just scored and went ahead!!!". I am very sad to hear of his passing; even though, as an overwhelmed freshman, I didn't do so well in his class, he was a wonderful teacher and a unique personality. And he did teach me the first German phrase that I still remember: "Deutsch ist nicht sehr schwer." Gosh, I hope I got that right!

Larry Oppenheim '71