Dr. Hugh A. Harter, Ohio Wesleyan ’41, retired professor emeritus, author and translator died August 13 at his home in Portsmouth, NH. He received the Sigma Phi Epsilon Citation for career achievement in 1999 at the Grand Chapter Conclave in Chicago.
His career started when he left college to serve in World War II where he served in the Military Intelligence 3d Army at Normandy, and then the Air Transport Command. He was the recipient of the medals St. Calais, Vendome, Blois, Dombasle, Utah Beach, Avranches, and Ouzouer, as well as the medaille d'Honneur of Confedn. Europeene des Anciens Combattants, and many other awards. He later wrote about his war experiences, which affected him deeply, in Return to Patton’s France: 1944’s Odyssey Retraced. Hugh returned to France for the dedication of Avenue Hugh Harter.
After the war, he received his B.A. cum laude in 1947 and Ph.d. in 1959 from The Ohio State University, an M.A.cum laude from Mexico City College, the University of the Americas in 1951, and a Doctor of Letters degree from Alma College. The latter honored his innovations in international education. He began his teaching career while still a student. He was the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 and 1961. He also taught at Wesleyan University, Elmira College, Chatham College and Loyola University before becoming a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University where he taught from 1966 until 1984. For many of those years he served as chairman of the department of romance languages. He was also the Robert Hayward Professor of Modern Foreign Languages from 1976 to 1984.
Hugh found time to teach abroad, including at the University Catolica de Santa Maria, Arequipa, Peru in 1969 and as director of academy programs in Segovia, Spain from 1969-1998, serving as the director of the International Institute of Spain, where he was named professor emeritus. He lived in Segovia for years and in 1976 was made an Honorary Citizen of the city. He also taught and conducted research in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Professor Harter was an author in several genres and several languages and became known internationally as a scholar of Spanish and French literature. He was particularly renowned for his translations of Nobel Prize winning Spanish poets. His bilingual editions of major poetical works, Shadow of Paradise and The Diary of a Newlywed Poet by Nobel Laureate Vicete Aleixandre and Juan Ramon Jimenez are widely recognized as masterful. He translated seven novels from French.
The books he authored include Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, Tangierand All That, and more recently, The Countess, which he called "a satirical novel in verse." His most recent work, a book of poetry called Flying With Nightingales was published in 2009. He co-authored and edited many other books. He was also a business man, a visual artist, and an art collector. He created an original holiday card every year that he sent out to all of his loved ones, and his watercolors illustrated his favorite book, The Countess.
Hugh would say his greatest achievement was winning the heart of his beloved wife, Frances, who predeceased him in 2006. Fran and Hugh traveled extensively but lived many years in New York City before retiring in Portsmouth, NH in 2003.
Douglas D. Scheibe Executive Director Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation