Corinne Crawford (1980-2007)

June 27, 2007

On the afternoon of Sunday June 24, Corinne Crawford (together with a cycling friend of hers) was hit by a car as she waited with her bike at an intersection in Walnut Creek.  Corinne was badly hurt and by the time she reached the Emergency Room of John Muir Hospital, she had suffered irreparable brain damage from blood loss at the scene.  She was placed on life-support and attended by her sister, brother-in-law, father, and many friends for two days.  On the evening of Tuesday, June 26, Corinne was removed from life-support and her organs donated.  She was twenty-six years old.

Corinne Sinclair Crawford was a sixth-year graduate student in the Classics Department at UC Berkeley.  Corinne was a remarkably gifted and wide-ranging young scholar, who joined the Department in 2001, having earned a combined BA-MA in Classics and Linguistics in four years at Harvard (Corinne, in fact, delivered the Latin Oration at her Harvard graduation).  

Corinne began the Berkeley program in the Classical Archaeology track, but found that her interests, capacious as they were, were not fully satisfied; so after one year, she switched to the broader Classics track.  In Classics, she was interested in everything and pursued her studies with ferocious intelligence and joy: she threw herself into the study of ancient literature, history, archaeology and material culture, and linguistics (including sociolinguistics). And all of these different interests ultimately found a place in her dissertation project—a pathbreaking study of local Italian identity-formation through language usage in the Roman Republic and early Empire.

Corinne was a remarkable student who blazed through our graduate program, but she was much more than that.  She was a precocious young scholar, who had already delivered several compelling and polished lectures at professional conferences and had effectively participated (as student representative) on a departmental search committee.  She was a passionate and committed teacher, utterly devoted to her students and inspiring a like passion and admiration in them.  Indeed, Corinne garnered a University-wide Outstanding GSI Award in 2005 in recognition of her extraordinary pedagogical skills.  She was a politically active and committed union representative for the GSI union, who fought tirelessly to improve student teaching conditions in the Department and the University at large.  She was a fervent feminist who put her beliefs into action by building community and offering support to women in every aspect of life at the University and outside it.  She was a serious cyclist who always pushed herself to her limits and competed as a member of Cal Cycling, Berkeley’s co-ed racing team.  She was a sympathetic and tenaciously loyal friend who always spoke her mind and a good citizen of the Department, the University, and the world.  We grieve for Corinne; her vibrant presence, humor, generosity, and passion will be sorely missed.

Corinne is survived by her parents, Geoffrey and Leslie Crawford of Burlington, Vermont and by her four siblings, Nicholas, Jocelyn, Tobias, and Elliott.  There was a memorial service in her hometown of Burlington, Vermont on Thursday, July 12.  The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College St., Burlington, VT  05401.

A campus memorial event took place Monday, August 27, at which the Department announced the establishment of an endowment for the Corinne S. Crawford Memorial Graduate Student Support Fund. A similar fund to support undergraduate students is also being planned. Corinne will be awarded the Ph.D. posthumously in Spring 2008.

See also Corinne's own page on this site, and here is a cartoon by Corinne that catches her spirit well.