After over 30 years of teaching at Lafayette, history professor Andrew Fix suddenly passed away over the summer, taking with him his energetic spirit and talented mind. Fix had been in hospice care when he died on June 28 at the age of 63, after a short illness this summer.
“The whole department was saddened by the sudden loss of a colleague and a friend,” former history department head Joshua Sanborn, who is currently on sabbatical, wrote in an email.
Fix taught European history classes, and a favorite, both for him and his students, was his seminar class on witchcraft, a class former history major Tyler Schmoll ’18 said was well-liked among students.
“I only ever had him my senior fall, but I had known about him before and I heard about his witchcraft class.” Schmoll said, adding that the class was “famous.”
“I had him for an Eastern Europe class and from the first day you could tell how passionate he was about the topic and history,” Schmoll added. “He knew so much, and it was obvious how much he knew and loved the subject and loved to teach. He really was one of the nicest guys you could meet. You could really tell he cared about his students and the subject.”
Fix grew up in North Carolina and attended Wake Forest University as an undergraduate, and went on to get an M.A. and Ph.D. at Indiana University. Though he did research in European languages, namely Dutch, Fix was multilingual. He often practiced his Greek, Latin, Spanish and more with students through writing comments on their papers and in conversation with them.
Fix received various academic awards such as a Fulbright Fellowship to The Netherlands, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, the Jones Award for Superior Teaching and Excellence of Scholarship and the Van Artsdalen Award for Scholarship.
His various honors and language skill are just few of the examples to his commitment to lifelong learning. Fix had written and edited three books, and at the time of his passing, was working on the final stages of his book, “Comets as Portents in an Era of Social and Cultural Crisis – 400BC-1700AD”. He also had a personal library that he kept open for his students in an effort to share his love for reading and knowledge.
“There wasn’t a time during which [Fix’s office] was locked, because he felt that his knowledge [in the form of his countless books] was our knowledge,” said Errol Flynn ‘20, one of Fix’s former students.
Fix’s EXCEL Scholar Scott Brown ‘19 recalled, “[Fix] always had a lot of faith in me…He told me, ‘You’ll learn Latin in no time.’”
Fix was “very encouraging, very trusting, a very good mentor…He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Brown added.
Others such as Rochelle Greenridge ‘20 also remembered Fix as being supportive of their abilities and learn and provide “spontaneous words of encouragement.” Greenridge said Fix once told her, “Rochelle, you have a vibrant personality. It’s inspiring. I wish you the best success in whatever you do.”
Current department head Paul Barclay similarly feels that Fix “left behind a lot of sad friends.” The department and other faculty honored Fix at the faculty meeting this past Monday, reading a list of his impressive accomplishments and standing for a moment of silence.
A memorial, planned by College Chaplain Alex Hendrickson and Fix’s wife, Lou Carol, will take place on Thursday, September 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Colton Chapel. This service is taking place in lieu of a formal funeral, and Fix’s extended family and friends anticipated to be in attendance, in addition to members from the campus community.
Bob Weiner, another professor in the history department, will sing psalms, Bud Martin, a retired Lafayette professor, will play the organ and Chaplain Hendrickson, President Alison Byerly and one of Fix’s students plan on making remarks.