Potter College News
Department of Modern Languages Says Goodbye to Dr. Laura McGee and Dr. Karin Egloff in Recent Retirement Recognition Ceremony
- Cody M. Smith
- Tuesday, November 9th, 2021
The WKU Department of Modern Languages gathered last Wednesday in the Honors College and International Center not to teach about language or culture, but rather to celebrate the work and recent retirement of two individuals who have done so over the course of their lives. This year, the department said goodbye to Dr. Laura McGee, professor of German and former department head, and Dr. Karin Egloff, professor of French. Although they no longer teach classes or have departmental meetings, the positive impact on students that these two professors created still lives on.
On Wednesday, November 3, faculty, friends, and former students of Dr. McGee and Dr. Egloff attended the ceremony to share their memories of the work of both professors, as well as to wish them a farewell in a new stage of their lives. WKU Arabic professor Dr. David DiMeo shared that Dr. McGee spent many hours as department head spreading the importance of language proficiency and building programs in rarely studied languages (like Chinese or Arabic, for instance) on the Hill. Today, because of Dr. McGee’s impact, WKU is unique in its offering of majors, minors, and certificate programs in such critical languages. According to Dr. DiMeo, “Dr. McGee has taken great initiative to bring the best career building opportunities to Kentucky students. She pushed through the Arabic and Chinese programs at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty and sought out all possible resources to make those programs as robust as possible. Many graduates have gone on to great careers as a result of her initiative.”
Dr. Karin Egloff also had a positive impact within the Department of Modern Languages. As a professor of French, she taught many students of French who now use the language in their everyday lives, setting them on a trajectory which would not have been possible without Dr. Egloff’s work and dedication in the classroom. Dr. Melissa Stewart shared some fond memories of Egloff throughout her career at WKU and the friendship between them . According to Dr. Stewart, “Dr. Egloff has touched the lives of hundreds of students in significant ways, in addition to contributing to a variety of departmental initiatives to improve language and cultural instruction here and in the state; she will be missed.”
It is certainly a bittersweet experience saying goodbye to two of the most influential professors of German and French in the department’s history. As they move on to other areas and interests in their lives, we can be certain that the impact they created on the Hill will remain forever and will follow the students who had the opportunity to take classes with them.