Associate Professor Emeritus Michael Mittelstadt diesTweet
Michael C. Mittelstadt, 78, associate professor emeritus of classics, died Friday, March 4. A native of Kansas City, he earned his undergraduate degree from Rockhurst College, and his PhD from Stanford University. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict, stationed in the United Kingdom, and taught classical studies at Kalamazoo College in Michigan before joining the faculty at Binghamton in 1965. He taught classical Greek and Latin languages and literatures, Greek and Roman drama, and the ancient Greek novel at Binghamton, retiring in 1996, but returning to teach the following year and serving as an adjunct instructor until 2005.
Mittelstadt published numerous articles on classical Greek and Latin authors and aspects of their works in international journals as well as The Journal of Value Inquiry, The International Social Science Review, and The Journal of the Association of the Interdisciplinary Study of the Arts. He was five times awarded National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships to attend and participate in seminars in his field.
“Mike was a gifted linguist—I believe he acquired fluency in Russian at the Defense Language Institute—a scholar whose output includes what is now recognized as must-reading on the ancient novel, and for years, a dedicated teacher in CNES,” said Andrew Scholtz, associate professor and chair of Classical and Near Eastern Studies. “On retirement, he donated his library to the Department, but continued to help out with instruction. Being what would now be termed a ‘techie,’ he always sought to keep abreast of the newest scholarly-technological developments, but he was as well a lover of culture and music and a pleasure to talk to. To those who got the chance to know him, he was a great friend.”
Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit, professor of comparative literature, will remember Mittelstadt “as someone who never paraded his knowledge of classics, but would point out various details, often recondite, in a modest and unassuming way.
“He had deep love of ancient philosophy; he saw his interest in, and proficiency with, computers as an extension of Pythagoras’ conviction that ‘everything is number’, she said. “He named his country cottage ‘Ataraxia,’ after the virtue Epicurus thought most important: unruffled, moderate repose. Perhaps Mike’s most outstanding characteristics as a colleague were his reliability and moderation.”
Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy Anthony Preus said Mittelstadt “was a reliable and hard-working colleague when I was Chair of Classical and Near Eastern Studies (many, many years ago), and an erudite companion in the Greek Reading Group from its inception continuing through several of his retirement years.”
A classic film lover as well as an outdoor enthusiast, Mittelstadt is survived by his wife Rosalie, three daughters and one son-in-law, two sons and two daughters-in-law, three brothers, two sisters and several grandchildren.
A memorial service has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 9, at Our Lady of Sorrows church in Vestal. Donations in his memory can be made to the American Heart Association or the National Kidney Foundation.