“Over the years, his many students have appreciated his genuine concern for their welfare, and his compassion as well as his erudition and wit. In those students, Professor Osborne’s legacy as an outstandingly gifted teacher will persist far beyond his retirement.” – Adam Poe Medal Citation
This endowed Lecture Series honors one of our most devoted teachers, David Osborne. Professor Osborne had a double appointment in English and Humanities-Classics.
He joined the OWU faculty in 1960 and retired in 1992; he died in 1996. His field of specialization was the British 19th century (Matthew Arnold; Rochester Ph.D.), but he loved teaching just about anything, especially the classics. In English he taught the Victorian and Romantic courses, as well as freshman writing (which he directed for some time); in Humanities-Classics he taught “Public and Private Lives” most often.
He was a thorough, caring teacher. He had a great sense of humor, displayed (for example) in his witty readings of humorous verse. He loved sports, including boxing. As a colleague noted, “David Osborne was remarkable for the number and variety of his interests and abilities—something of a Renaissance Man … He was a skilled woodworker and restorer of antique furniture, tools, and clocks, the faces of many of which he painted in exquisite detail. An avid gardener and landscaper, he also cultivated a small orchard of apple trees … He helped [his] boys restore vintage sports cars, and later expertly restored two of his own.”
The Osborne Lecture Series was established in 2003 through the generous lead gift of former student, Julianna Ebert ’74 who wished “to honor the memory of Dr. Osborne.”
“Dr. Osborne was an incredible teacher. Each day in his class was a special gift, one that delighted not only the most serious student of literature, but also students from all backgrounds and with all interests. He had a unique ability to engage all of us with his charm, wit, and wide-ranging knowledge. He was truly an inspiration.” – Julianna Ebert ’74
“If you took to him, in a state of helpless frustration and despair, a student paragraph so mired in grammatical, syntactical, and logical incomprehensibility as to convince you that you had chosen the wrong profession, David could study it calmly for a few minutes and show you how to help the student see what was wrong with it and straighten it out.” – Prof. Randall Waldron
Past Osborne Lecturers were Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mark Edmundson and David Bartholomae.