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In Memory

Catherine E. Fruhan

Catherine E. Fruhan

Deceased November 20, 2015, Greencastle, Indiana.

Catherine E. Fruhan, professor of art and art history at DePauw University since 1984, died suddenly today while on campus.  She was 67 years old. (at right: Professor Fruhan in 2004)

Born November 6, 1948, in Lakewood, Ohio, Fruhan earned her B.A. in the History of Art from the Connecticut College for Women and went on to study in Italy at the University of Florence.  She then received a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Professor Fruhan came to DePauw in 1984 after teaching at the College of Wooster.  Her courses included Italian Renaissance, European Baroque, and Late-Nineteenth-Century French Art, as well as a class on Documentary Film and several on the History of Western Art.  She chaired her department from 1994-97 and 2004-05.

In her research, Dr. Fruhan's interests centered on Rome as a mythic as well as a physical space and other aspects of that city in the 16th and 17th centuries -- including women patrons, the collecting habits of aristocratic families, papal sculpture commissions, and pilgrimage in the Jubilee Year 1600.


In 2004, she was presented with the Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Tucker Jr. Distinguished Career Award.  In 2010-11, Fruhan was a recipient of the Exemplary Teacher Award, which is given jointly by DePauw and the General Board of Higher Education of the United Methodist Church to recognize faculty members who exemplify excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education, and service to students, the institution and the community. (at left: a 1984 photo of Dr. Fruhan)

In an email to the campus community this afternoon, DePauw President Brian W. Casey noted, "Catherine was beloved by students and respected among the faculty and staff for her dedication to the best principles of a liberal arts education. Her work touched several generations of graduates and has made DePauw a better place."

He added, "I join everyone in the DePauw community in mourning Catherine and in sending our deepest sympathies and warmest thoughts to her family and many friends."

DePauw's Office of Student Life is offering support for students, faculty and staff who desire it during this difficult time.

A remembrance gathering will take place on Saturday, December 12, at DePauw's Prindle Institute for Ethics from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. with a program beginning at two o'clock.

Published on www.depauw.edu November 20, 2015.

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06/06/16 07:10 PM #1    

Jane Dixon (Otto)

Cathy and I stayed in touch regularly the past 50 years despite physical distance and challenging workloads. We first met at the age of 10 when our families moved to Rocky River and settled on adjoining streets. She and I bonded as we walked to and from Goldwood Elementary on Center Ridge Rd. several times a day for 5th and 6th grade. Most days our walking mates included Lee Allmen and Peg Toman. Those walks and all our talking/laughing along the way continued through junior high and high school, schedules permitting. Growing up, Cathy and I (and many other neighborhood friends) enjoyed summers together riding bikes, climbing trees, trying tennis on the potholed junior high courts, playing pickup baseball/softball in open fields and badminton for hours in our backyard, swimming, watching Twilight Zone in her family room, stargazing and discussing the world, or just hanging out listening to music.   

In the late 1970s, when Cathy was in Rome as a grad student doing research and we were “on the road again” from Kenya to France, she shared her love of Rome by taking Jim and me to some of her favorite places-- small churches with extraordinary art work, hole-in-the-wall restaurants with tasty local food, quiet streets for strolling and appreciating the Roman way of life, etc.  It was a wonderful three weeks. In the 90s, we met up on a few occasions when she was visiting her mother in a retirement community in Olmsted Falls, and I was visiting my in-laws nearby.  Cathy also visited us several times in the DC Metro area when she was an early advisor to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

We typically called each other for a long chat on our birthdays (6 months apart) and caught up first on family news. Then she would regale me with tales from academia, and I reciprocated with stories from my experiences as a contractor for federal agencies. We laughed and groaned at the quirks of our work worlds. After all that, we’d move on to movies and books, upcoming travel, the Cleveland Indians, politics, and whatever else was top of mind. We had a great discussion on November 6, 2015, just two weeks before she died.

I have a boatload of wonderful memories of our times together growing up and of our wide-ranging conversations as we “matured.” Cathy was whip-smart but not arrogant, open to new ideas and adventure, sometimes irreverent, but always thoughtful … in all senses of the word.  I was lucky to have her as a friend. Jane Otto (aka Mary Jane Dixon)

06/07/16 06:56 AM #2    

Jinny Kamuf (Johnson)

Great to read more about Cathy's life and the special friend she was to you. 

06/07/16 08:24 AM #3    

Lee Allmen (Tice)

Janie, Well said. It's wonderful hearing your memories of Cathy as well as hearing about your own adventures. Cathy was certainly an intellectual, but she was a fun, down to earth person as well. I wish I had kept up with both of you over the years. I'm hoping you'll be at the reunion so we can do some catching up.



06/08/16 02:04 PM #4    

Chris Webb (Letts)

Hi guys,

It's too bad to have all these great rememberies and messages from old friends on the occasion of someone's death.  It is so nice to remember my good times with that gang of 4 - Janie (cheerleading, for god's sake...), Lee, Peggy and Fruhan.  I went to Conn College with her ,but we did not really keep in touch.  I knew her brother when I was at HBS and he was my finance prof.  

Chris (Webb) Letts


07/15/16 08:18 PM #5    

Jill Fife (Brown)

Just my thought, but I am glad to see that classmates are posting womething for those who have left us.  For each In Memory classmate there has to be someone who was their friend and who knew them well.   hope that when I die someone will leave kind comments so I do not have just a blank picture when  am gone.

07/16/16 01:02 PM #6    

Peggy Toman (Siegle)

Thank you Jane, Lee, Chris, Jill, and everyone who is remembering Cathy and others.  Jane, I'm so glad you wrote all that about Cathy.  It was so very meaningful.  I feel like I missed so much by not being there senior year to cement more lifelong friendships like that.  I hope to see all of you in September.

08/26/16 05:04 PM #7    

Jill Fife (Brown)

I sat across from Pix senior year in homeroom.  She was always studying even in homeroom.  I would tease her about it and she would have me help her by having me ask her questions.  Of course I was never studying so I had plenty of time to help her.  I remember going skating with her and we would laugh alot.  The laughter is what I remember the most.  Isn't that great?

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