********* DES News Updates ********* DePaul Emeritus Society-Chicago, IL
The DES is open to all faculty and staff of DePaul University who have retired from the university with 20 years of full-time service and are 55 years or older, or have retired from the university with 10 years of full-time service and are 62 years or older.
The Academy building was turned over to DePaul University, and renamed Byrne Hall. Bygone DePaul | Special Collections & Archives
About the DePaul Emeritus Society
DePaulUniversity 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.
John Milton Death, Obituary – Fr. John Milton, CSV, would have celebrated 70 years as a Viatorian in September and 65 years as a priest. He was among the inaugural class of brothers to profess first vows at the Province Center in Arlington Heights and he lived out his vows through his long and productive life. Students at Cristo Rey St. Martin surprised Fr. Milton with a cake on his 90th birthday in 2019.
John Milton Death, Obituary – John Milton Has Passed Away
He passed away Jan. 24 at the age of 92. All but five years of Fr. Milton’s active ministry were spent teaching physics. He was a founding member of the science department at Saint Viator High School, where he taught for 20 years, and he spent another 24 years as a professor at De Paul University in Chicago. He started his career at Cathedral Boys’ High School in Springfield, before short assignments at Spalding Institute in Peoria and Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee.
Upon his retirement in 2011, Fr. Milton served as a science consultant to faculty members at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, where he helped obtain lab equipment through his network of physics colleagues and helped to start the school’s first AP physics course. Students and faculty members alike enjoyed the projects he brought to the class, including one standout, “When Pigs Fly.”
It is with great sadness I learned of Dr. Cornelius Sippel death today. I was using his name and wanted the correct spelling and found his obit instead. Dr. Sippel was my History 101 teacher in 1964! May he rest in peace.
October 1929 - December 2021
Cornelius Sippel III “Corny”. Corny passed away quietly late December 2021 at Glenview Terrace Care Center following a series of illnesses and setbacks. His accolades included a BA from Carlton College and masters and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Michigan. His academic career was interrupted by the Korean War where he served in the Army stationed in Tokyo Japan. His entire teaching career as a history professor was spent at DePaul University in Chicago where he taught for over 50 years. He always spoke fondly of his students and his advanced classes where debate was fostered and encouraged. As the department grew and the need arose for a professor to teach Russian history, he rose to the challenge, doing research and writing his own book. He carried his love of history and current events into retirement, participating in book clubs and discussion groups. Sports and exercise were a regular part of Corny’s life. He was a lifelong Michigan Wolverine fan and loved Big 10 football. He enjoyed cheering on the Chicago pro teams and called the Cubs the “Loveable Losers”. His love of swimming spanned his entire life and included captaining and being on the swim team at Carlton College. In addition he regularly played racquet sports, organizing a Saturday morning tennis group for many years and playing well into his 80’s. His love of games expanded to Bridge, Poker, and Sunday Game nights and later board games, Trivia, and cards with the grandkids. In the winter he tirelessly spent hours making and maintaining the family backyard ice rink which was enjoyed by friends, family and neighbors and in the summer he grew a wonderful assortment of garden vegetables. In addition for many years he umpired neighborhood “softball” games, planned block party kids contests and helped lead the 4th of July block parade. Dad created many cherished memories as the family photographer and meticulously planned and chronicled many wonderful family road vacations to California, Florida, Yellowstone National Park and others. His children fondly remember the infamous red sweater which he included in many scenic photos to “improve the color” of his slides (or when the kids resisted getting out of the car). A dog lover, Corny supported the SCPA and all his dogs over the years loved him dearly. Dad had a love of “acting” although his only formal role was in a grade school play of the Prince and the Pauper. However, he could recite jingles and intros from old radio and sing all the verses to every Christmas carol with drama and finesse. He played regular characters with kids and grandkids: Ghost, Monster, Mr. Stranger Danger, and the infamous “Fake Santa”. Dad had always told us of his desire to Donate his body to Science and his generosity was very low key and understated. He was a man of little advice but big example. We will miss reminiscing and laughing with Dad about the family vacations, experiences, and cast of family characters with which our lives have been blessed over the years. His place at the table will be missed terribly.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
Children: George Sippel (Tina), Tracey Gordon, Judy Reilmann (Dave) --- Grandchildren: Jeremy Gordon, Sharlene Osilaja (Adeolu), Bethany Duncan (Jeff), Justin Reilmann, Alexander Sippel --- Great Grandchildren: Isaac Osilaja, Naomi-Noelle Osilaja, Michael-Gabriel Osilaja
dozen members of the Book Club convened on Zoom to discuss Angle of Repose,
a long, complex novel dealing with a marriage and the struggles of an engineer
and an artist in the harsh environment of the western states. Some found it “depressing” or even
“confusing.” while others admired Stegner’s skills in structure and style, finding
his characters sympathetic and the narrative engaging. Some of these differences centered on
Stegner’s use of a limited narrator, Lyman Ward, who researches and recounts
the life of his grandmother Susan; especially in view of Lyman’s strong opinions
and the dream fantasy at the end of the novel, we might distrust some of his
judgments. Readers’ responses to Susan
ranged from impatience with her social snobbery and her decision to marry
Oliver Ward (a “consolation prize?”) to sympathetic admiration for her strength
and courage in the difficult circumstances of western life. Lyman views her sympathetically but never
defends or excuses her possible involvement with Frank; he is notably evasive
about the nature of their relationship and perhaps also condescending towards
her work as an artist.
readers were interested in Stegner’s use of the Foote family letters and noted
that many letters were used almost verbatim; perhaps these added to the sense
of history, of real life, in the novel.
There was general agreement that Stegner’s narrative style was eloquent,
particularly in rendering the visual splendor and the harsh reality of life in
the western states. One reader added
that the novel’s treatment of life in the small town and cities of Idaho and
California revealed that the exploration and settlement of the West was not
only the work of brave individualists, but was controlled and exploited by
large Eastern corporations and unscrupulous lawyers and investors—like the
lawyer who cheats Oliver out of a homestead.
Altogether, the novel’s scope and style help to explain Stegner’s
literary awards and staying power, even if some readers “admired rather than
loved” the novel. Despite its multiple
stories, Angle of Repose makes a
determined march towards tragedy; after Agnes’s death Oliver and Susan can
never recover their trust and happiness, and even their son appears withdrawn
and cold. One reader pointed out that
Lyman’s final lines consider forgiveness, something greater than his
grandfather was capable of, and thus end the novel with the possibility of
redemption or healing.
Our next book will be John LeCarre's memoir The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories of my Life. Next meeting willbe Wednesday, February 2, still on Zoom. Discussion starts at 11 am, with link open at 10:30 for log on and chat. Please contact Kathryn DeGraff or Helen Marlborough with any questions.
Frank Sherman passed away November 22, 2021, at home attended by his wife, Barbara, daughter, Emily, and grandson, Ian Koller.
Frank Eugene Sherman was born October 4, 1927 in Lakeview Michigan. His childhood was spent in Lakeview until the Great Depression forced his parents to place him in an orphanage in Ohio. He moved to Chicago and lived on his own at age 16. Frank enlisted in the Army in January 1946, serving until discharged June 22, 1947. He attended the University of California at Berkeley on the GI bill, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He continued at Berkeley to earn a PhD in English Literature. While in graduate school, Frank met and married Barbara Hope. They had two daughters, Celia and Emily. His teaching career began at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, continued at Roosevelt College, and DePaul University, from which he retired as Professor Emeritus of American Literature in 1987.
Frank's enthusiasm for education transcended his career. He was an early supporter and proselytizer for KPFA, the pioneering Bay Area radio station. He took his family for a European tour for most of 1965. He mentored many student groups on trips to England and Europe. Frank also enjoyed travelling on his own or with Barbara, primarily to London, Paris, Vienna, and Bayreuth. During retirement, he continued his dedication to, and support of, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and local theater. Chicago audiences and his many friends in the Arts community will be a little poorer because of his absence.
Frank is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters, Celia Roe and Emily Sherman; grandchildren: Francesca Hugueny, Alexander Roe, and Laurel and Ian Koller; and great-granddaughter, Beatrice Hugueny.
Memorial donations in Frank’s name may be made to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, Development Department, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604 or at: https://cso.org/support/make-a-gift/
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
A group of about a dozen readers met to discuss Stephen Johnson's The Ghost Map. We found many areas of
interest in Johnson’s account of John Snow’s efforts to pinpoint the causes of
a cholera epidemic in 19th century London. One obvious and widely shared response was a
horrified awareness of the limits of 19th century sanitation and the
dangers it posed to public health. Johnson
also provided a wealth of accompanying detail on living conditions and popular
ideas; in fact, some readers found the second half of the book overloaded with
“scattershot” detail that interrupted the narrative. Others appreciated
Johnson’s analysis of issues, such as his lively account of a cholera infection
or his explanation of popular resistance to Snow’s claims because of the belief
in miasma or poisoned air. One reader
noted that we might have learned more about the media and transmission of information
in this society, while others recognized Snow’s vivid demonstration in his map
of fatalities near the Broad Street pump.
Johnson also notes the persistent human tendency to blame the poor or
lower classes for their own illnesses, as many believers in miasma did. The linkage of illness to “weak morals” has
been documented in other places as well; Johnson gives a good account of the
social dimensions of public health issues.
We also discussed Johnson’s perhaps optimistic view of the possibilities
of urban life; discoveries like Snow’s help to alleviate the risks of life in
crowded urban areas, but public health efforts, as we know, face many
The next meeting, December 1, will focus on a work of
fiction. The group selected Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose for this meeting. As we agreed in August, our February meeting
will discuss John LeCarre’s memoir The Pigeon Tunnel. We will continue to meet on Zoom in December and we eagerly welcome new members. The Zoom link will be sent prior to the meeting, we open the link at 10:30 with the discussion beginning at 11 am Central Standard time. If
you have questions or suggestions, please contact either Kathryn DeGraff or
About a dozen Book Club members met to discuss Britt
Bennett’s novel The Vanishing Half, exchanging thoughts on a number of
topics literary, historical, and social.
One reader noted at the start that the novel might well have been titled
“Passing,” because its central characters were attempting to “pass” as members
of another race or sex; in that reading, Stella and Rees are particularly
important, “passing” by huge efforts in social behavior or even surgery, and
their characters are developed in depth; but in another sense the entire town
of Mallard, with its preference for light skin, attempts to pass as racially
other. Other readers commented that
these transformations are also “vanishings” because old identities are left
behind or disappear; and when Desiree flees from her abusive husband, she too
vanishes, absorbed back into the town she left as a teenager.
These reflections led to a number of comments on the
pervasive racism of American society and the traditional themes of American
identity.The inter-generational trauma
of racism finds violent expression in the brutal murder of the twins’ father,
for example, and helps to explain Stella’s fears of discovery and Kennedy’s
unfocused resentments.All the
characters seem to be engaged in the traditional American quest to discover or
shape a new identity, free from the constraints of the past, but all these
quests are shaped by the stresses of racism and oppression. Still, a few
characters, such as Jude or Earl, accomplish their goals and represent the
strength and integrity possible within (and beyond) Black communities.
Some readers noted weaknesses in the novel’s structure or
style; in an effort to cover a number of current issues and locations, Bennett
sometimes leaves characters and situations undeveloped: Stella’s husband seems
a stereotype, for instance, and Stella’s black neighbors might deserve more
treatment. On the whole, however, the
novel raised important questions about current American culture and exposed the
high costs of racism in America, whether to individuals or to the culture as a
Our next book will be The Ghost Mapby Stephen Johnson. We will meet on Wednesday, October 6, at 11 am Central Time, via zoom. The link will open at 10:30 to provide for some connecting time prior to the book discussion. If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn DeGraff or Helen Marlborough.
We enjoy catching up with our fellow retirees and we welcome new members to the group. These zoom meetings have provided a great way for us to connect virtually with local and distant DES members.
Obituary: Sally Anderson Kitt Chappell, Ph.D. (1929–2021)
by Pauline Saliga, Kevin Harrington and Elaine Harrington | Aug 10, 2021
Sally A. Kitt Chappell thrived on community, humanistic ideas and independent initiatives. She spent much of her adult life pursuing and integrating all three. Her gift for friendship and building new communities was recognized by all who knew her, however slightly, but particularly through her creation of numerous reading groups. Her love for and engagement with ideas spanned her life from her first years at Mills College to her last days when she described her final visits with family and friends as surreal in a good way, like the plot of a Magic Realism masterpiece. Her love of independent initiatives revealed itself in the quality of her work as a gifted scholar, teacher, colleague and administrator, and in the key role she played to create the Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled in 1997 to protect the rights of developmentally disabled individuals living in State Operated Developmental Centers in Illinois. In retirement she became even more prolific by publishing scholarly and popular books on ancient architecture and cultures, Chicago parks, poetry, children’s books, and a bibliomemoir on her ten favorite books that she read again and again. She also made time to master ikebana and watercolor.
Sally Anderson was born in Topeka, Kansas, 27 June 1929, the first child of William Elbert Anderson, owner of a wholesale grocery business, and Elinor Tanke Anderson. In her 2009 book, Words Work, Sally Chappell described her birth as “a lucky start, for my father was a big-hearted, sensitive man and my mother a poet. She loved to read poetry aloud at bedtime and I am sure she planted the seeds of a love of meter and rhyme in me that would grow over the years.”
Even as a young person, she loved both the natural and the built worlds. She developed an early engagement with nature while spending summers with her Aunt Dorothy in Port Clinton, Ohio, a popular vacation spot on the shoreline of Lake Erie. She also was curious about architecture at an early age, and she long remembered Topeka High School, designed by alums, Thomas Williamson, Ted Griest, and Linus Burr Smith and opened in 1931, as being “a very beautiful building.”
After her family encouraged her to leave Topeka for college, Anderson first attended Mills College in Oakland (1946–1948) then transferred to Smith College (1948–1950) where she earned a B.A. in political science. There she was introduced to her future husband, Vere Claiborne Chappell, by the latter’s sister who also attended Smith College. Post-college Anderson took a grand tour of Europe to see art and architecture first-hand. While there she also trained as a German interpreter. Sally Anderson and Vere Chappell married and moved to New Haven where Vere earned his Ph.D. in philosophy, and their first two children, Jennifer and Jonathan, were born. When Vere accepted a teaching post at University of Chicago, the couple moved to Chicago and had a third child, David. It was at University of Chicago that Sally Chappell began working on an M.A. in 1957 with Dr. Earl Rosenthal, historian of Renaissance art and architecture. She completed her M.A. in 1962. During the same period Sally and Vere Chappell divorced, and Sally reared their three children alone while teaching at Kendall College in Evanston and later at Mundelein College in Chicago. From 1965 to 1968 Sally Chappell attended graduate school at Northwestern University where she worked with Dr. Carl Condit, a historian of architecture and urbanism who wrote pioneering books on the history of Chicago architecture, particularly skyscrapers. Condit’s wife, Isabel, was a legendary peace activist in Chicago, and Isabel’s activism was as important to Sally as Carl’s scholarship. Under Carl Condit’s influence, Chappell became immersed in the history of both world and Chicago architecture, and she published articles on Chicago and architects Mies van der Rohe and Francis Barry Byrne in the Prairie School Review and New City. Her Ph.D. thesis was a monographic study on Prairie School architect Francis Barry Byrne.
Dr. Sally Chappell’s teaching career began in earnest in 1968 in the Department of Art at DePaul University where she began as an assistant professor who taught both general education art history survey classes to a great many first-generation students and more specialized courses focusing on art, architecture and urbanism to art majors. Although not particularly religious herself, she enthusiastically adopted the mission of St. Vincent de Paul for the education of children in the age of urbanization and industrialization, and Chappell was soon promoted to associate and then full professor.
Chappell’s students remember her as a master of engagement because she started every class with a five-minute discussion about life or current events. She would ask students for their opinions and make everyone feel that their comments were taken seriously, much to their amazement. She considered these discussions life lessons and to this day her students cherish all the critical-thinking skills she helped them develop. Back in the classroom, having successfully broken down the social barrier between professor and students, she continued with the class content, using the Socratic method to extend the dialog and make the class a meeting of minds. Her students loved her, not just for what she taught them, but for the authentic concern and respect she showed them. As a former student, Fr. Ed Udovic, C.M., Ph.D. recently wrote, “I had never before had a teacher like Sally. Her passion swept the class up in an exciting embrace, and pushed us forward not just to see, but to understand, appreciate, question, and envision…Her classes helped form me as a historian, and nurtured my desire to do doctoral studies and teach.” In recognition of her transformative teaching style and leadership, in 1990 DePaul University presented Sally with two of the most prestigious awards that the university bestows on their professoriate: the Courtelyou-Lowery Award for Excellence in Teaching and Collegiality and the Sears Roebuck Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership.
During her years at DePaul, Chappell delivered many scholarly and public talks on a wide variety of topics focusing on buildings, engineering, urban planning, and landscapes with the same charisma that she brought to the classroom. She also published on those topics in prestigious publications including Art Journal, Inland Architect, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Threshold, the Chicago Architectural Journal, and the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects.
In the late 1970s and 1980s Chappell expanded the scope of her work to serve three communities-—the public, her university, and fellow professionals. For the public, Chappell collaborated on exhibitions organized by two newly-established Departments of Architecture in Chicago museums. The first was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979 with curator John Zukowsky and architectural historian Robert Bruegmann on The Plan of Chicago: 1909–1979. The second was at the Chicago History Museum in 1982 with curator Ann Lorenz Van Zanten on Barry Byrne, John Lloyd Wright: Architecture and Design. For her university, Chappell helped secure two Title 6 grants to create an image library for teaching, and accepted important committee assignments including Graduate Studies, Freshman Seminar and Honors, and Chair of the Art Department (1977–1980). For her profession, Chappell served as president of the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (1981–1982), on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and for many years on the Board of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Also for her profession, in 1984 Chappell organized and directed a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, an eight-week master class for 25 college professors from across the U.S. The Institute, which focused on new views of Chicago architecture and urban planning, featured lectures by local professors including Robert Bruegmann, Carl Condit, Joan Draper, Kevin Harrington, David van Zanten and other experts from the area’s leading universities and cultural institutions, which at the time all had strong architectural history programs. The institutions included DePaul, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern, University of Illinois, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Chicago History Museum and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts.
In 1977 Chappell entered a second, joyous marriage to psychiatrist Dr. Walter Kitt. They honeymooned in Europe, including Venice, a city that Chappell introduced to her students through passages from John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice and Frank Jewett Mather’s writings, which she read aloud in class. Walter and Sally enjoyed more than 44 years together. They continued to travel extensively for many years, including a notable 1990 trip to Japan through the DePaul Foreign Studies Program. While in Kyoto, by chance and innate charm, they became acquainted with a wealthy Japanese sight-seer who escorted them around Kyoto in a chauffeur-driven car to visit all the gardens and temples that were on Kitt Chappell’s well-researched itinerary. Sally and Walter also spent many winters in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Sally, true to form, created another reading group, this time of poets.
In 1987 Chappell was invited back to the Art Institute to write a catalog essay for a major exhibition that opened in Chicago and later traveled to Paris and Frankfurt, Chicago Architecture: 1872–1922: Birth of a Metropolis. Chappell’s essay for the catalog, “As If the Lights Were Always Shining: The Wrigley Building,” was the result of her multi-year year study on the Chicago architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White. Her research culminated in a monograph on the firm titled, Transforming Tradition: Architecture and Planning of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White (1912–1936) (University of Chicago Press, 1990). The book won the Association of American Publishers’ award for Most Outstanding Book on Architecture and Urban Planning in 1992.
After Chappell retired from teaching in 1994, she had time to pursue her passions, which included scholarly and popular writing, poetry writing, travel, book discussions, ikebana, and watercolor. Chappell published two books through University of Chicago Press in retirement, Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos (2002) and Chicago’s Urban Nature: A Guide to the City’s Architecture + Landscape (2007). In more recent years, Chappell discovered the joy of self-publishing on topics of special interest to her, including Words Work: Selected Writings of Sally A. Kitt Chappell (2009), the bibliomemoir The Ten Heavens of My Literary Paradise (2014), the children’s book Gloria Goldfish Loses a Loved One (2014), and many books of her poetry including Shards (2012), The Time the Stars Came Down (2016) and In Praise of Flesh: New and Selected Poems (2017). She also enjoyed appearing, and often winning, poetry slams at the Green Mill, where Marc Smith started the Uptown Poetry Slam in 1984.
Chappell was also a founder of seven or more book clubs over the years. One she called the Dante Club, or "the not-for-sissies book club," as she said sometimes. It has met for more than 25 years, often reading classics, but also new books of note as well. This includes one wonderful meeting and stay in Tuscany at La Foce, the estate of Iris Origo, where club members discussed Origo’s WWII memoir, War in Val D'Orcia. Other reading groups Chappell founded include George Eliot, Proust, Broch and Saramago.
In closing we leave you with two fond memories of Kitt Chappell from friends and colleagues. Karen Wilson, former Fine Arts Editor at University of Chicago Press, wrote, “I knew Sally as an exacting, broadly informed and self-directed scholar, as her publishing interests clearly indicate. But beyond informed and curious, Sally seemed always to be in possession of a world of talents. In our dealings and interactions, she showed an unmistakably indomitable and larger-than-life personality…” And from Sally and Walter’s close friends Kevin and Elaine Harrington, “We recall that Sally characterized herself as “ardent.” She said it reflecting on her approach at life, her fundamental character throughout life...She was ardent about ideas, art, architecture, cities, books, friends, Walter, her children and family, music, opera (her recall of arias by favorite singers, often heard years apart), teaching and learning.”
Sally A. Kitt Chappell died as she wished, peacefully at home and surrounded by family, on August 2, 2021, after a short illness. Kitt Chappell is survived by her husband of more than 44 years, Dr. Walter Kitt, daughter Jennifer, sons David and Jonathan (married to Mary McGee Chappell), and step-son Gregory Kitt. Kitt Chappell is survived by four loving grandchildren, David’s son, Antionio Chappell, and Jonathan and Mary’s three children, Jennifer (Chappell) Ringwald (married to Steven Ringwald), Lauren Chappell, and Ryan Chappell (married to Ciara Delaney). Kitt Chappell expressed sadness that one granddaughter, Katherine Chappell, predeceased her in an accidental death, and felt blessed with the birth of one great-grandchild, Ruby Katherine Ringwald (daughter of Jennifer and Steven Ringwald), to whom Sally dedicated her 2016 book of poetry, The Time The Stars Came Down. Kitt Chappell is also survived by four siblings: Georgana Tait, Ralph Allen, Glynn Anderson and John Anderson.
A memorial service will be planned in the coming months. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial gifts in honor of Sally A. Kitt Chappell to the Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled. You may donate online at iladd.org/donate. You also may mail a contribution to ILADD, 8649 Carey Avenue, River Grove, IL 60171-1636, Attn: Wayne Ryerson, Treasurer. Telephone is 708-453-2824.
– Pauline Saliga, Kevin Harrington and Elaine Harrington
Source: Society of Architectural Historians, August 10, 2012; https://www.sah.org/about-sah/news/sah-news/news-detail/2021/08/10/obituary-sally-anderson-kitt-chappell-ph.d.-(1929-2021)
Sally A. Kitt Chappell, a respected architectural historian and beloved retired DePaul professor, died Aug. 2, 2021. She was 92.
Chappell joined DePaul's faculty in 1968 and taught for 26 years in the Department of Art, serving as its chair from 1977 to 1980. During Chappell's tenure, her tremendous commitment to liberal arts education, her passion for teaching and her extensive scholarly research contributed to the university's growth. She retired in 1994.
Mike Mezey, who served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, recalls her influence on new faculty as the university grew.
"Sally was a role model, particularly for female faculty, about how one could be a prolific scholar — as Sally was — an excellent teacher and a good citizen of the college," Mezey says. "She was involved in recruiting some of the best young art historians who came to DePaul and provided a foundation for what now is a very strong department. So she was, you might say, one of the founding mothers of that particular area of study."
Chappell won several prestigious grants, including two federal grants for the DePaul Library and a $111,500 grant in 1984 from the National Endowment of the Humanities to direct its summer institute. Chappell organized the institute that brought faculty members from around the country to DePaul to study Chicago architecture.
"Without being overly dramatic about it, the current university stands on the shoulders of people like Sally," Mezey says. "People who were there when the university wasn't what it is now and who, through hard work, built what we currently have."
Chappell was a passionate teacher, deeply committed to the value of a liberal arts education for undergraduate students. She was the first DePaul faculty to earn the Sears Roebuck Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in 1990. The same year, DePaul awarded her the Rev. William T. Cortelyou-Martin J. Lowery Award for Excellence, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' highest faculty honor.
Pauline Saliga, who took some of her courses in the early 1970s, calls Chappell's teaching "beyond compare." Inspired in part by Chappell, Saliga pursued a career in architectural history. She now serves as executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Saliga remembers how Chappell would start each class with a five-minute discussion about a current event or life decision she was wrestling with, then ask students to weigh in.
"That's one of the things that I learned from her that even the seemingly simplest questions do have a certain level of complexity, if you take the time to consider all sides," Saliga says. "And it's that critical-thinking aspect of her work that I still carry with me today, questioning and trying to get at the kernel of truth." Saliga co-wrote an obituary for the society honoring Chappell.
Chappell was a respected voice on Chicago architecture, one of her research passions. She wrote extensively both for scholarly journals and the general public about architectural history, urban planning, city parks and landscape architecture. She authored several books, including the first academic history of the architecture firm Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, which designed the famed Wrigley Building in Chicago. She also wrote the first book about Cahokia Mounds from an architectural history viewpoint, and she completed a guide to Chicago's parks and landscapes.
Chappell is survived by her husband of 44 years, Dr. Walter Kitt, three children, one stepchild, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Chappell earned her doctorate in architectural history from Northwestern University. She also held a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's from the University of Chicago. A memorial service will take place in the coming months.