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September 12, 2013

Obituary: Philip Watts

A memorial will take place on campus for Philip Watts, former chair and faculty member in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures. The event is set for 2 p.m. Oct. 4 in 501G Cathedral of Learning.

Watts, 52, died in his New York home July 20, 2013, following a brief illness.

Watts grew up in Los Angeles and received his BA in French language and literature from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He earned his PhD at Columbia in 1991 and joined the Pitt faculty in 1992.

A specialist in 20th-century French literature and film, he taught at Pitt 1992-2006 and chaired the department 2003-06. He also served as a departmental undergraduate adviser and directed the Pitt in France program.

In 1999, Watts was one of two winners of the first Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards. His book on French culture in the wake of World War II, “Allegories of the Purge,” was awarded the 1999 MLA Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone scholarship.

In 2007 he returned to Columbia, where he was professor of French in the Department of French and Romance Philology.  He chaired the department 2008-12.

He is survived by his wife, Sophie Queuniet, and daughters Madeleine and Louise.

Pitt colleagues have established the French & Italian Legacy Fund in Memory of Dr. Philip Watts. The fund will support an annual lecture and other endeavors aimed at recognizing student excellence. Contributions can be made through the Office of Institutional Advancement, 128 N. Craig Street, Pittsburgh 15260.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 46 Issue 2

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