James “Jim” R. Soukup, former professor of government, died May 26 at age 83. Soukup began his teaching career at the university in 1956, where he was a threetime Fulbright scholar to Japan for the study of labor politics and later served on the Fulbright National Selection Committee. He was instrumental in the development of the college’s Asian studies program and its supporting library holdings. In 1970, he left the university to chair the Political Science Department at State University of New York at Fredonia, where he taught courses in East Asian politics until his retirement in 1991.
Alma Faye “Abbie” Madden, College of Liberal Arts alumna and longtime supporter of The University of Texas at Austin, died Aug. 26 at age 82. Madden served on several of the university’s boards and endowed a professorship in the College of Liberal Arts. She also supported education and civic endeavors in Amarillo. A proud supporter of fine arts, Madden painted more than 150 oil, charcoal and watercolor paintings for friends and charities. Her most treasured painting, “The Wedding Feast at Canaan,” is displayed in the Great Hall of First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo.
Sarah McKinnon, graduate student and researcher in the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center, died April 20 at age 37. She earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Texas at El Paso, a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health and a doctorate in demography from The University of Texas at Austin, where she was a pillar of the Border Contraceptive Access Study, a project examining the experiences of Hispanic women’s contraceptive practice.
Robert “Bob” Brody, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, died Feb. 21 at age 75. After completing his doctorate at Harvard University, he joined the university in 1974, where he taught Spanish American literature until his retirement in 1997. His scholarship focused particularly on the works of two 20th-century Spanish American writers, Julio Cortázar and Carlos Fuentes. Following his retirement, he pursued acting and appeared in a number of local theater productions.
John Silber, president emeritus of Boston University and former dean of UT’s College of Arts and Science, died Sept. 27 at age 86. A native of San Antonio, Silber earned his bachelor’s in philosophy from Trinity University and doctorate from Yale University. He returned to UT as an assistant philosophy professor in 1957, working his way to department chairman by 1962 and dean by 1967. No stranger to controversy, he took a stand against the regents’ plan to split the massive College of Arts and Sciences into the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences, which led to his dismissal in 1971.
For the next 25 years, he served as president of Boston University. He took a leave in 1990 to run as the Democratic candidate for Massachusetts state governor, which he lost by a narrow margin. He returned to Boston University, serving as chancellor from 1996 to 2003, and retired as president emeritus. He is the author of “Straight Shooting: What’s Wrong With America and How to Fix It,” and “Architecture of the Absurd.”