Jeannette L. Faurot, professor emeritus of Chinese at The University of Texas at Austin, died on August 12, 2005, at the age of 62. She was born on March 1, 1943, to J.H. and Louise J. Faurot in St. Lambert, Quebec, Canada. She spent her childhood in Kansas and Missouri and her teenage years in California.
As a child she developed a fascination with the culture of China, sparked by the influence of her uncle, Albert Faurot, who had been a missionary there. In choosing a college, she enrolled in one of the few institutions that offered Chinese studies at the time, Harvard University, and she was one of the first undergraduates to receive a B.A. degree in Chinese from Harvard-Radcliffe. She went on to receive her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese studies from the University of California at Berkeley, timing her stay in Berkeley to coincide with the Free Speech Movement, Peopleís Park, and the anti-war movements of the 1960s.
In 1971 she came to UT Austin to head the fledgling Chinese language and literature program. During the next three decades, she would help to develop this program into one of the strongest in the south, and her Ph.D. students now hold prominent positions in Chinese programs throughout this country and overseas. During those years, she was not only a much beloved teacher and colleague but also a dedicated, indeed exemplary, member of the community. With her genuine love and profound understanding of China, Professor Faurot built a solid foundation for the China program almost single-handedly. She was also undoubtedly the main driving force behind a key phase of remarkable development of The University of Texas East Asia program as a whole, which grew from a small unit of only two and half faculty lines in the early 1980s to its present size of over twenty faculty and lecturers in the early 21st century, further strengthened by three endowments totaling over two million dollars. Many of our present East Asia faculty members joined the department during this period and received warm assistance and invaluable mentorship from Professor Faurot.
The China program, in particular, has benefited tremendously from the generous endowment Professor Faurot's late mother donated to the University in the 1990s, which provides it with the much-needed support in all areas of faculty research, student fellowships, and program enhancement. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the East Asia program at UT has flourished because of Professor Faurot's significant, selfless, and unfailing contribution.
Professor Faurotís research interests evolved over time, beginning with Chinese fiction and ending with the study of Confucian and Taoist texts and classical poetry. She was the first recipient of UTís Harry Ransom Award for Excellence in Teaching and has published several works important to the field of Chinese studies. In 1980 she edited Chinese
Fiction from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives
, and in 1995, she published Gateway
to the Chinese Classics: A Practical Guide to Literary Chinese
, a book which has been highly praised by those who needed a guide to reading classical Chinese texts. In her 1998 companion volume to that successful book, Drinking
With the Moon: A Guide to Classical Chinese Poetry
, she presented a selection of the finest Chinese poems for self-study or classroom use with poems from the ancient Book
of Songs (Shi Jing)
and from the Tang and Song dynasties.
She was an avid amateur musician and enjoyed playing piano, violin, and recorders in chamber groups. She also enjoyed gardening and natural history. She was a member of Northwest Hills United Methodist Church.
In 1997 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She continued to teach for two years while undergoing treatment for the disease before retiring in 2000.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors
Sung-Sheng Yvonne Chang (chair), J. Patrick Olivelle, and Herman H. Van Olphen.