Sweet Briar community remembers beloved Professor Emeritus Glenn Van Treese

Van Treese
Glenn Van Treese with his wife, Gilberte, at Reunion 2016

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our dear friend and colleague Professor Emeritus Glenn J. Van Treese on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. He is survived by his wife and Professor of French Emerita, Gilberte, whom he was rarely seen without.

In fact, many of us knew Glenn as one-half of the Van Treeses. Over the last few years and months, the Sweet Briar community bonded with the beloved couple through one of their favorite pastimes: attending campus events. But alumnae and former colleagues also remember Glenn as a patient teacher, a true gentleman and a devoted husband and friend.

“I am especially indebted to Glenn for his bringing me to Sweet Briar in 1971 and for his mentoring during my first years as a foreign language teacher,” wrote former German professor Ronald Horwege on his Facebook page. “Even after retirement Glenn was regularly visible on the campus, and with Gilberte he continued to be active in campus life. We will miss Glenn very much.”

The 54 comments that have followed since Saturday highlight just how many lives Glenn Van Treese touched during his time at Sweet Briar — and how connected faculty and alumnae still are even decades later.

“I remember him well,” wrote Elena Quevedo ’83. “He was my professor, and the reason I spent my junior year in Paris.”

Karin Lindgren ’75 had a similar experience. “He was my academic adviser and one of the best French professors I ever had,” she chimed in. “He will be greatly missed.”

Victoria Clarendon Richter ’80 couldn’t agree more. “To teach is a noble endeavor,” she said. “Both the Van Treeses are legends among the faculty. How fortunate that so many of my friends from SBC received the gift of his instruction. Rest in peace gentle man.”

Former colleague John Jaffe, who retired recently from his job as libraries director, also has fond memories. “Glenn was an extraordinarily wonderful teacher and a true gentleman. Knowing him enriched my life and seeing him and Gil was always a joy in my final years at Sweet Briar.”

Celeste Delgado-Librero ’91, also a former faculty member, recalled his love of the outdoors. “I will always remember him in his gardening clothes trimming the hedge around his house or raking leaves,” she wrote. “I bet he was doing that until the day before [he died]. Such a lovely man!”

Aimee Kass ’79 summed it up perfectly. “Mr. Van Treese was so much: a professor, a gentleman, a devoted husband, a friend. He was indeed Sweet Briar. And he taught me how to operate every machine at the Language Laboratory and how to manage the lab. He was the embodiment of learning. I will miss him.”

Glenn J. Van Treese was born on May 18, 1929, in Indianapolis, Ind. He received all of his degrees from Indiana University: his A.B. in 1951, his M.A. in 1962 and his Ph.D. in 1968. He began his tenure at Sweet Briar College on July 1, 1963, as an instructor of French, served as an assistant professor from July 1, 1968, to June 30, 1973, and was awarded tenure in 1969. He was promoted to associate professor on July 1, 1973, and to full professor on July 1, 1981. Glenn retired from the College in May 1989.

Details regarding a memorial service are still being finalized.