W. Briggs, a Wesleyan faculty member for over 40 years, died Sept. 25 at
Middlesex Health Care Center at the age of 90.
1915 in Millbrook, N.Y., he was graduated from Cornell University in 1937.
He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained master’s (1939) and
doctoral (1944) degrees from Harvard University.
joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1943 and attained the position of professor
of romance languages in 1956 with a specialty in French language and
literature. He held this position until his retirement in 1985 at which
time he became professor emeritus. He was twice director of the
university’s program in Paris and just this spring was honored by a former
student with the creation of the Morton W. and Kathryn I. Briggs Endowed
served Wesleyan in numerous ways during his long and distinguished career,
including chairman of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, director of
the Honors College for two decades (1966-85), chairman of the Educational
Studies Program (1973-1985), acting director of the Graduate Liberal Studies
Program and he was Wesleyan’s delegate to Phi Beta Kappa’s governing body,
the Triennial Council, for many years. He was executive secretary of the
University, secretary of the faculty, and secretary of the Academic Council.
was a proud of the Middletown community and served it well. He was active
in the Middlesex County United Way (board of directors, campaign chairman
1965, president 1967), the Middlesex Chapter of the American Red Cross
(board of directors and chairman 1966-68), the Middletown Rotary Club (board
of directors and treasurer) and The Church of the Holy Trinity.
statewide activities included chairmanship from 1963–72 of the Foreign
Language Advisory Committee for the state Department of Education. He was
also a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Council of
is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Kathryn (Kay) of Middletown;
their children, Christopher of Marlborough, N.H.; Kirk of Vineyard Haven,
Mass.; and Kate Holmes of Grand Junction,
Colo.; five grandchildren; one sister, Elinor Sutherland of Millbrook, N.Y.,
and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.,
at Holy Trinity Church in Middletown.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross hurricane