Lawrence students, faculty, and friends were deeply saddened by the loss of Associate Professor of Russian Rebecca Epstein Matveyev. Matveyev died unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 6, 2004, at the age of 36.A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Matveyev earned the Bachelor of the Arts degree magna cum laude in English and Russian from Rice University. She continued at the University of Wisconsin-Madison earning an M.A. and the Ph.D. in Russian literature and language.
Professor Matveyev published several articles on Doestoevski, Pushkin and Tolstoi in the Slavic and East European Journal and Russian Literature. She also translated several works into English, including contributions to the collections “Lives in Transit: A Collection of Recent Russian Women’s Writing” and “Russian Women: Experience and Expression: An Anthology of Sources”.
Matveyev was a highly respected member of the Lawrence community and taught in the gender studies and freshman studies programs in addition to the Russian department.
In June of 1999, Matveyev was honored with Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teacher Award at Commencement.
In presenting this honor, former president Rik Warch highly praised Matveyev’s “boundless energy” and “infectious enthusiasm.” Warch commented, “You have engaged your students in the oft frustrating yet exciting journey toward understanding viewpoints and ideas that appear dauntingly unfamiliar…you make Russian come alive in your classroom.” Matveyev was promoted to associate professor of Russian and granted tenure in 2002.
Dedicated to incorporating cultural study in foreign language programs, Matveyev endeavored to develop new courses, such as “Women and Gender in Russian Culture,” volunteered with the Appleton Area School District’s committee on foreign language standards, and was active helping Lawrence’s Foreign Language Coalition introduce new features to several departments.
A memorial service for Matveyev will be held on October 10, 2004 in Harper Hall.