Byrne Hall

Byrne Hall
The Academy building was turned over to DePaul University, and renamed Byrne Hall. Bygone DePaul | Special Collections & Archives


About the DePaul Emeritus Society

DePaul University values its ongoing connections with its faculty and staff retirees, as it values their past contributions to the university’s mission. The DePaul University Emeritus Society was founded in 2008 with the merger of the Staff Emeritus Society and the Emeritus Professors Association. The Society is sponsored by the University’s Office of Mission and Values.

The purpose of the DePaul Emeritus Society is to provide a means for ongoing connection, communication, and socialization between the university and its emeritus faculty and staff, and between individual retirees whose professional lives were for so many years dedicated to university service.

Photos, events, and information of interest to members of the DePaul Emeritus Society will be posted to this blog. Please take a look, add your comment, offer to be an "author" or just enjoy.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Book Club Meeting June 7

On June 7 we met for discussion of our 20th book!  “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki  led to wide ranging discussion, about Zen, concerns for the environment, writing about and across time, and how writing has an impact on our personalities and how we understand ourselves through time. The two narrators, Japanese girl, Nao, and American writer, Ruth, never meet, but communicate across time and space. We agreed that the book was almost science fiction, and enjoyed consideration of how genre fiction has begun blending into mainstream fiction.  From cultural differences to Japanese culture, to modern technology, to time itself, we all agreed the book lent itself to a fascinating discussion.

Our next book will be "Lab Girl" by Hope Behren. Here is a link to one of the many reviews of this novel, this one from the New York Times.  We will meet Wednesday, August 2, in Room 115 of the Richardson Library. Discussion begins at 1:30, with the room open at 1 pm. for anyone who wants to bring in a brown bag lunch.  For further information contact Kathryn DeGraff or Helen Marlborough.

We will continue to review the titles on our list for consideration for upcoming discussions. Please let Kathryn, Helen, or anyone else in the group, if you have a favorite book you would like to share with your DES colleagues. As you can tell from the posts, we are interested in a wide range of fiction and non fiction. We enjoy our sessions thoroughly and always have room for more people and more insights!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2017/18 DES Steering Committee

Congratulations to Kathryn DeGraff and Jerry Goldman for being re-elected to a three year term ending in 2020. Also, congratulations to Don Casey who was elected to complete Helen Marlborough’s term ending in 2019.

The 2017/18 DES Steering Committee:

Jean Bryan, 2018
Don Casey, 2019
Kathryn DeGraff, 2020
Jerry Goldman, 2020
Marty Kalin, 2019
Susan Kosinski, 2018
Jeanne LaDuke, 2018
Nancy Rospenda, 2019

Thank you all for serving on the Steering Committee and keeping DePaul retirees engaged.

Source: Alice Farrell, June 20, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DePaul Emeritus Luncheon, May 25, 2017

A grand time was had by all at the May 25, 2017 DePaul Emeritus Society Luncheon. Kathryn DeGraff, photographer, captured the day. Enjoy.

Monday, May 8, 2017

In Memoriam - Milton Shulman

It is with much sadness we learned recently of the death of Milt Shulman, professor emeritus in the department of information systems.

Milton Shulman, 91, beloved husband of the late Ethel nee Fratkin for 43 years, loving father of Bonnie, Ben (the late Susan), Bill (Michelle Slosky) and Leah (Misha Tsirulik); cherished Grandpa of Hatha Gbedawo, Michael (Megan) Shulman, Danielle (Anton) Staaf and cherished Saba of Ethan and Shelly Tsirulik; adored great grandfather of Ursula, Arthur, Ulric and Rena; beloved friend and companion of Merle Bass. Chapel service, Monday 12:15 PM at Shalom Memorial Funeral Home, 1700 W. Rand Road, Arlington Heights. Interment Shalom Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. For information or condolences, (847) 255-3520 or
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Mar. 25 to Mar. 26, 2017If you would like to leave a message for his family, click here.Photo courtesy: DePaul University Archives

May DES Luncheon

The DES Annual Spring Luncheon will take place on Thursday, May 25 at the Lincoln Park Student Center, room 120B.

Andrea Bainbridge from University Archives will highlight the current WWI exhibit and its story of close ties to the university and the Ward family, and will offer an optional tour of the exhibit at the Richardson Library.

Hope you are able to join us!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Club Meeting April 5

 "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt brought the city of Venice to light for us all, those who had visited there as well as those who never had that pleasure. The destruction of the opera house, LaFenice, by fire in 1996, provided the author the opportunity to relate his encounters with residents of the city, of their lives, recollections, and observations. He used their accounts to fashion his own journey through the past of Venice, social, political, cultural, artistic and anecdotal. We all enjoyed his tales and the fascinating tapestry he wove.

Our next book will be "A Tale for The Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki. Here is a link to one of the many reviews of this novel, this one from the New York Times

We next meet Wednesday, June 7, in Room 115 of the Richardson Library. Discussion begins at 1:30, with the room open at 1 pm. for anyone who wants to bring in a brown bag lunch.  For further information contact Kathryn DeGraff or Helen Marlborough.

As we considered titles for future consideration, rather than simply review our existing lists, we decided to have all participants submit titles they would like to read to Kathryn DeGraff. We review the list at each meeting. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

In Memoriam - J. Irwin Peters

Irwin Peters, DES Luncheon, Oct. 2014
Dear Colleagues,

It is with sadness that we have learned of the death of J. Irwin Peters, retired professor of marketing. Irwin passed away on March 19 at the age of 93. He taught at the university from 1969 to 1988.

Irwin was a Holocaust survivor with a fascinating history, which his family shares with us:

But for Adolph Hitler, J. Irwin Peters, Ph.D, probably would have lived a life of refined contentment as a history professor at the University of Vienna. Irwin Peters, whose name was originally Imre Erwin Popper, was born in Vienna, Austria, July 28, 1923, to Jewish parents, Wilhelm and Irma Popper.

Though not particularly religious, his family did observe the main Jewish Holidays and participated in high Austrian culture, as did a disproportionately large number of the Jewish Viennese community. Most of their friends were Jewish, but they felt and believed themselves to be very Austrian. After all, Irwin's father had served the "fatherland" in the absolute carnage of World War I, three years on the Russian front, and one year on the Western front, and received two boxes of medals in the process. Like most combat veterans from every country who have seen the horrors of war, Wilhem Popper rarely talked about it.

On March 12, 1938, Hitler entered Austria, to the acclaim and exuberant celebration of many, perhaps most Austrians. Irwin remembered the pro-Nazi Archbishop of Vienna welcoming Hitler into Vienna by having all the church bells rung and declaring a school holiday. Shortly thereafter, the terror began.

On March 17, 1938, Wilhelm Popper was jailed for the crime ofbeing a Jewish lawyer. Irwin remembered being permitted to visit his father in jail once per week. On July 4, 1938, Wilhelm was released based on his agreement to leave Austria by mid-September. As Irwin and his parents left the West Bahnhoff train station to travel to Slovakia, Irma told Irwin, then 14, "You'd better take a good look at your Uncle Berthold because you may never see him again." Indeed, Irwin's Uncle Berthold died in Auschwitz with his wife and child.

Upon Irwin's arrival in Slovakia he remembers his mother's family greeting them and taking them to the village of Spisk Nov Ves. Shortly after arriving, some of the townspeople in their new homeindulging in the tradition of hatred of Jewsarrested Irwin and his parents and locked up his family, along with other Jewish families in a room in the City Hall. After a day or two, the town leaders let them go because they were not sure what to do with the Jews.

Irwin was both a survivor and lucky. He had a passion for history and politics, and a remarkable gift for political prescience. While he never imagined the horrors of the concentration camps, he could see the direction that society was headed. So he applied to a boarding school in England, and was accepted on condition that he obtain the necessary visas. While most of the Jews in the area were writing to Winston Churchill, desperate for visas, Irwin wrote instead to Alfred Duff Cooper, a member of British Parliament known to be critical of Chamberlain's appeasement policy, asking for help with the visas in order to attend the boarding school, Duff Cooper did send him a visa, and thus Irwin was able to escape the disintegrating world around him. Irwin never met Duff Cooper, but Duff Cooper's non-publicized benevolence to Irwin served to inspire Irwin to a lifetime of generosity and kindness to others.

So, in December 1938, at the age of fifteen, Irwin boarded an airplane for the very first time, to fly to London. He did not see his parents again until 1946. He said, "my mother was heartbroken, but thought it was a good idea for me to go to England. I was very lucky, very fortunate."

Irwin's primary focus upon arriving in England was to study hard, and to try to fit in with his new peers. Ever the survivor, by July 1939 when Irwin took his school exams, he received the highest rating possible at his school on his English O-level exams, which involved Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare. In seven months, he had become fluent in English, and in receiving the highest grades; he took more pride in this than in almost anything else in his life.

As the war years went by, he lived through the Battle of Britain, was turned away from the military for fear that he might be a spy, worked summers in a potato field, studied a lot, made lifelong friends, and grew up. Although his first love was history, he studied chemical engineering, because that was what sustained his academic scholarships; in 1949, he received his PhD in chemical engineering from Imperial College, University of London, where he was mentored by Sir Alfred Egerton, F.R.S. Sometime in the early 1940's, with anti-German sentiment rising in England, he changed his name to the more English-sounding J. Irwin Peters.

Meanwhile, before the Final Solution was actually implemented in Austria, Irwin's father was arrested again. This time he was sent to work building railroad tracks but was released when he got sick. Through fortitude and sheer luck, Irwin's parents managed to evade the Nazis: while they were standing on a rail platform to be deported, a plane strafed the platform, killing people to their left and right; somehow, they managed to slip away. Toward the end of the war, they hid in a tree trunk for 2 weeks, and then lived in a cave in the mountains for six months.

After the war, Irwin's parents moved back to Vienna, and his father returned to his law practice, where he prosecuted Nazi war criminals, and also served as the nominal head of the Austrian Zionist organization. Wilhelm and Irma wanted Irwin to return to Vienna, but for Irwin, living in a city with people who had so enthusiastically welcomed Hitler was unthinkable.

Instead, in February of 1953, Irwin decided to come to America, accepting a job as chemical engineer at E. I. du Pont de Nemours. While at DuPont, he was credited with 2 patents. Soon after arriving in Wilmington, Delaware, he met 19-year-old Sylvia Hurwitz, and proposed marriage three months after meeting.

Irwin had some intellectual wanderlust, and while working at DuPont, he received a master's degree in economics at the University of Delaware in 1960. A job with the Kawecki Chemical Company in New York was followed by a position at Liquid Carbonic in Chicago. A few years later, he began working as a consultant, and also became a tenured professor of marketing at DePaul University, where he taught from 1969-1988. He found great joy in teaching, and was a frequent recipient of DePaul's "Atta Boy" award for most popular instructor.

Despite his new life in America, the war and central Europe were never far away from Irwin's thoughts, or even from his life. German and German-accented English was often a part of his family's home in Glencoe, Illinois, as relatives and many friends of similar background were frequent visitors. Stories of the past, both wonderful and awful, but always intriguing, were often heard. One such story was of his favorite cousin, Ivan Jarny. The two were close in age, and grew up together, until the war. To this day, Ivan, who survived by fighting with the Partisans and now lives in Australia, never celebrates New Year's Day, because on January 1, 1944, he saw his mother and sister carted off by the Nazis; he never saw them again.

Some of Irwin's favorite activities included subscriptions to the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera, and, of course, watching Cubs games with his son, and later with his grandson, Derek. For years, he attended Great Books discussion groups, where he made many good friends. A man of diverse interests, Irwin also partnered with Jack Huck in 1971 to start a girls' soccer league through the Glencoe Park District.

In 1986, Irwin purchased an industrial lubricant manufacturing plant on Chicago's Southwest side. The company had its struggles, but even when it was doing poorly, Irwin partnered with a social service agency to hire those down on their luck, such as recovering drug addicts. His honesty and forthrightness drew numerous people from all backgrounds towards him.

For example, he became friends with former Chicago Bull Tom Boerwinkle, who became a regular lunch companion. Irwin had some interest in basketball, but was deeply interested in Latin. Tom Boerwinkle's mother had been a leader in Latin language studies in Ohio, which led to an ongoing meaningful connection which engendered many years of great (non-basketball) conversation.

Irwin leaves behind Sylvia, his wife of nearly 63 years, son Ken Peters, an attorney with a successful Chicago law practice, and daughter Alison Peters Fujito, a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Most importantly, he leaves behind six wonderful grandchildrenDerek, Melissa and Josh Peters; and Michael, Danny and Emily Fujito-- whom he loved deeply and who adored him. He also leaves behind many friends, relatives, and university colleagues who will sorely miss his charm, wit and menschkeit. May he rest in peace.

Thank you.

Source: Mission and Values email, April 7, 2017
Photo: Elaine M. Beaudoin, DES Luncheon, October 31, 2014