In Memory of Wolfhart P. Heinrichs

CMES joins the Middle East studies community in mourning the unexpected loss of Wolfhart P. Heinrichs, who passed away on January 23, 2014. A long-serving member of the CMES Steering Committee, Professor Heinrichs was a professor of Arabic in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) since 1978, and held the James Richard Jewett chair since 1996. His numerous publications include more than fifty articles in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition, for which he was also co-editor.

Professor Heinrichs was a beloved teacher and advisor for generations of CMES and NELC students. Avigail Noy, NELC PhD candidate and student of Professor Heinrichs, remembers the joy he took in teaching and mentoring:

His legendary Arabic philology class, where he would write personally tailored exams for each student; his meticulous analysis of term papers and dissertation chapters as if they were one of the classical texts themselves; his creativity in writing General Exam questions, which would always include one he knew the student could not answer (just for the fun of it); his trust in his students to pursue whatever paths their research led them to (even if it meant taking a year or two longer to finish); the much-awaited limerick he would write when the student finally did finish—all of these, together with his humble, kind, and shy demeanor, made Professor Heinrichs an object of admiration and inspiration for a generation of Arabists."

(Excerpted from a memorial announcement by Avigail Noy on NELC's website. Read the full text here.)

Wolfhart P. Heinrichs
A photo of Professor Heinrichs taken for the CMES photo directory in the early 1990s.
Wollfhart P. Heinrichs
Professor Heinrichs talks to a guest at the CMES MESA Reception in 2009.