Jeffery Steele (1947-2018)

Prof. Steele was a dedicated teacher who inspired countless students. In 1992, he was the recipient of the James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award, an honor given each year to only four teachers across the UW System. One former student, Joel Cupelli (BA ’09), admired Prof. Steele for his ability to teach “not only language and rhetoric, but the world around you.” Simply put, Cupelli says, “it felt good to be in his classroom.” His lectures were lively and eloquent. Peter Ribic, who served as his teaching assistant several times, recalls a time when Prof. Steele accidentally brought the wrong novel and lecture notes to class, a potentially catastrophic situation. Peter quickly handed over his own copy of that day’s textbook, Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, and then watched as Prof. Steele gave his lecture from memory. “I don’t mean he cobbled together fifty minutes of lecture-like material,” Ribic remembers. “He gave a focused, tightly-argued lecture, taking us to passages whose page numbers he just seemed to know. It was so virtuosic that I’m not sure any of the students even noticed.”

Read more about Jeffery Steele’s distinguished career in the memorial resolution presented to the Faculty Senate in December 2018
Jeffery Steele In Memoriam