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Andrea Tschemplik

Andrea Tschemplik

August 16th, 1961 - August 21st, 2020

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Name Andrea Tschemplik
Date of Birth August 16th, 1961
Date of Death August 21st, 2020
In Memoriam Donation The Andrea Tschemplik Prize for Philosophy and Religion Students
In Memoriam Donation Second Chance Wildlife Center
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2001 - 2020 Associate Professor, American University

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Susan Tuttle published a tribute .

I met Andrea at Upsala College in 1978. I was a junior majoring in English and Art, and she was a freshman. Three years younger than me, it became quickly obvious that even at such a young age, she was someone incredibly special. Her intelligence, wisdom, humor and humanity made an indelible impression on me, and I feel myself incredibly lucky to have been able to call her a friend. We had a lot of fun together back then (and beer was often involved). After I moved to Switzerland in 1981, we would see each other when we could. I drove up to Brensbach, Germany when she was there visiting her family (her grandmother always shyly welcomed me, and we would go out drinking with her brother and his firefighter friends). I'd also see her and Jim and during my regular visits to NJ. I last got to see Andrea in MD in the summer of 2016, and I am so grateful that I had that chance. The photo is of Andrea and my son in about 1988 or 1989 here in Switzerland. My son is named Lucas Andreas Tuttle. His second name was very deliberate. That's how important Andrea was to me. The world is definitely a sadder place without her.

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Alec Orudjev published a tribute .

Weeks and months after her passing, I still can’t (and unlikely to ever) shake the feeling of this profound loss to me. Professor Tschemplik was my intellectual hero, a truly beautiful soul, someone whose opinion I valued and for whom I had tremendous amount of respect. One is so incredibly lucky to have people like that in one’s life; yet losing them is ever so much more painful. She brought joy, wisdom, humility, and beauty into the lives of people around her. Behind the unassuming and humble demeanor dwelt a world of incredible richness, kindness, wit and curiosity. Following my graduation, I was privileged enough to count her as a friend. And now I am ever so poorer for not having her around.

Wherever she might be I hope she is under a sprawling plain-tree, on her own, having a smoke and gazing above, or chatting with her favorite people, real or imaginary.

Farewell and thank you, dear Andrea.

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Anita Sherman published a tribute .

I signed up to audit Andrea's class on "The Good and the Beautiful: Plato and Kant" this past January because I wanted her guidance, wisdom, and expertise in reading Kant. On the first day we watched Leni Riefenstahl's "The Triumph of the Will," and I'll never forget the class's silence after it was all over, and her questions about its treacherous beauty. Unfortunately, once Covid interrupted the spring semester, I could no longer attend the class. I wrote to Andrea, requesting that she add me to her Blackboard site and Zoom arrangements, but she did not reply, I did not insist, imagining (perhaps wrongly) that having a colleague sit in on her class felt awkward and that she was perhaps glad to have the excuse of Covid to drop me. I should have insisted. Attending her class was the high point of my week. I told her this, but she couldn't seem to believe it. Rereading Plato with her was an illumination, a discovery, wonderful in every way. We hadn't gotten far with Kant by mid-March, but I figured there would be another time when I could pick up where we left off. My heart goes out to all who loved her and now miss her. I barely knew her, but I needed her intellectually in my life. May she rest in peace.

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Marie Spaulding published a tribute .

I first met Prof. Tschemplik when she agreed to moderate a Philosophy Career Night with AU alumni in Feb 2010. In preparing for this panel, I asked Andrea to suggest AU Alumni. With her help, we assembled one of the most vibrant career panels ever!

Among the alumnae was Haley Stevens, BA, Philosophy and Political Science, 2005 and MA, Philosophy and Social Policy, 2007. Haley is now a US Congressional Representative from Michigan.

As moderator, Andrea raised challenging questions for each of the alumni to answer and encouraged them to share insights that addressed the questions raised by the enthusiastic students in the audience. Students still had more questions and talked with each of the alumni after the panel ended.

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Olivia Litzenberg published a tribute .

Dr. Tschemplik was a truly extraordinary professor and presence in my life. Her wit and candor dispensed the swift justice that one of knowledge must exact on the ignorant. At times where I made assumptions, I would be swiftly corrected. At times where I was approaching the light of wisdom, she stoked my curiosities. Never a boring conversationalist, she treated me as an equal, and I will never forget her.

What tiny specks of wisdom I have been able to accumulate in life, I credit to her. Thank you, professor Tschemplik. May you rest in power.

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Abdulrahman Bajodah (Baj) published a tribute .

Dear Professor. Andrea Tschemplik,
You have always told us, there are two kinds of teachers: the sage on the stage and the guide on the side. You never wanted to be the sage on the stage. Even in your classroom, where the stage was yours as our teacher, you did not rejoice in it. Your sole desire was for us to share the journey to wisdom with you. You were greeting us, as your new students by telling us, “I am here to seduce you;” and indeed, in every introduction to philosophy class that you taught, there would be a couple, if not several students, who were seduced to turn away from whatever they thought they were going to major in, to embark instead on the journey of wisdom and study philosophy, because of you.
You never ceased to nurture our wingless souls with beauty, wisdom, and goodness, so our souls might grow beautiful, thoughtful, and virtuous wings. In fact, we did not realize how wingless we were until the rare moments during your classes, when the inspiration of wisdom would take you further away from us, although you were still in front of us in the classroom. In such moments of witnessing you in your element, we ourselves were taken by awe, mesmerization, profound admiration, and even motivating shame. Forgive us, we could not help then but recognize you as the sage on the stage of our hearts. Still, the second you would realize how high and far the strength of the wings of your soul had taken you, you stopped yourself by forcefully covering your mouth with your two hands, and sat in your chair right away.
You only wanted to be a guide on our side. And you really were. Your guidance did not mean taking our hands and guiding as if our young ignorance and vices were an unsurpassable predicament. You treated us as equal to you, and showed us like a true role model that we are all equally responsible towards the divine in us, where the quest for immortality begins first and foremost by leading a good life—and of course a life of witty humor! Only then, one becomes less fearful of death and more appreciative of life.
Confronting our finitude by mourning your death for the past months, your lessons are not forgotten. I cannot help but imagine you, reminding us today, of the following lines that you taught countless times, pronounced by your favorite philosopher, Socrates, approaching his death: “I consider you my friends, and I want you to hear that death is no evil.... To fear death is just another form of that old vice I have always fought all my life in Athens, to suppose you know what you do not know.” Do you remember when I was your teacher assistant, we were sharing end of the semester reflections with our students, and one of them could not help sharing with heartfelt tears what it meant for her to now know that she does not know. While some were informed by your lessons to forget them after a semester, once the effects wore out, many of us carried your lessons and were formed and affected by them for a lifetime.
You expanded my life. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, in a family where the love of knowledge is the greatest virtue and the carries of knowledge deserved the highest honor and reverence. My parents always taught me to love my teachers since the first day of school. Many years later, by the end of high school, I knew that the only journey ahead of me was the journey to wisdom and to follow its love. I was in search of my teacher. Yet, the government of my country deemed philosophy forbidden and did not allow teaching it or learning it in any capacity. I knew then that I had to leave my country if I were to grow the wings of beauty, wisdom, and goodness; and I did not know what was awaiting me. I came to AU at nineteen year old. Even though the scholarship from my government forced me to study biochemistry, I did not wait a second to register in a philosophy class with an indescribable eagerness, and it was your introduction to philosophy class. We sought one another long before we met. Only to meet you as my first philosophy teacher, youth-long mentor, and the ideal philosopher. Since then, I kept searching for you in every teacher I have met after you.
As my teacher and guide, you nurtured me with the exact same values of my family, although this time in the much wider and beautifully limitless world of philosophy. To, truly, be a lover of wisdom. I am deeply grateful for how you instilled in me from the beginning a true conception of philosophy and showed me what it looks like. You gifted me a foundation stronger than the security I recived from home.

During and after my time at AU, you protected me from the indoctrination prevalent in philosophy departments, in which philosophy can be many things, besides a way of life. Since the end of my adolescence, I recognized philosophy as a way of life just by accompanying you. You never had an agenda, only an orientation towards the Good, without any claim to knowledge. You always told me that what Socrates knew that he did not know was the Good, for our trip to the Good is nothing but an approximation. You made me intuit from early on what it means to be freed from the poisons that come with being professionalized to become a scholar who gatekeeps a body of knowledge.
Just starting my PhD in philosophy this semester, as a consequence of your support and several dear teachers, I cannot avoid the route of professional philosophy if I want to fulfil the role you fullfield for me, but this time for others. I want to keep giving your gift of philosophy as a way of life, but this time to others. I do not desire to forget your early lessons, and I commit myself to become a true student of yours, as much as you were a true teacher of mine.
While many of us hope, if there is an after-life, to meet you once again in eternity. For now, I hope your soul has found wisdom in her purity, there only, and nowhere else, where the utmost joy is to be near the throne of the Good.
Your Faithful Student, Abdulrahman Bajodah

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Rose Cherubin published a tribute .

Andrea was the first to make me feel at all welcome when I entered the Philosophy PhD program at CUNY; before I met her, everything pointed the opposite way. She then introduced me to people such as Allyson Robichaud and Tim Johnson, and this community was really responsible for my being able to complete the program. Being friends with Andrea and this group meant a kind of support that was philosophically challenging, that didn't let one rest: the best kind of support.
During our time atCUNY she and I were adjuncts at Hunter, along with Pat Goodin. The conversations the three of us had were the most challenging I've experienced - not in an adversarial but in a constructive way (and with unparalleled snark and humor). I learned more about Plato and Aristotle, and further deepened yet criticized my love for them, through these interactions than in any other situation I've encountered.
Thank you, Andrea, for what you've done and what you were and still are. And give them a hard time in the afterworld just as Socrates would have wanted!

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Kathryn Mattimore published a tribute .

Maybe 30 years later? Maybe more? A vivid memory of the excitement in Andrea’s face as she tells me - “Charmides blushes!”

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Peter Larsen published a tribute .

Andrea Tschemplik was one of the kindest, funniest, most intellectually curious people I have had the privilege to encounter. She was a truly inspirational teacher, and it is no exaggeration to say that she had a direct impact on the trajectory of my life. I remember once, when I was an undergraduate at American University, I was wandering around the quad in my typical early-twenties obliviousness, as Andrea and one of the graduate students were watching me from the top of the steps of the Battelle building. When I saw them again, Andrea said that I reminded her of the story that Plato recounts in the Theaetetus of Thales who, while studying the stars, was not looking where he was going and fell into a well. A Thracian slave girl then mocked Thales for being too concerned with what was in the sky, and not bothering to notice what was right in front of him and under his feet (174a). Andrea was always able to see the humorous and the profound in the apparently mundane. I count myself lucky to have known her.

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Jason Emami published a tribute .

Andrea Tschemplik was one of the most wonderful individuals I have known in my life. Coming from a working-class background, I always felt a pretty serious amount of imposter syndrome, while at university. However, the two years spent getting my MA in philosoohy, are among the rare moments in my life, when I truly felt a part of a community and at home. Andrea Tschemplik was a huge part of that. She was always encouraging, while expecting the most out of me. She treated me like I belonged there, along with everybody else; she treated me like I was capable and worth seeing and hearing. Over those two years, I constantly found myself in her office or standing with her outside Battelle or the Ward Circle Building. I would talk to her about anything. I would tell her about my classes, about whatever I was reading, just about random thoughts that I couldn't get out of my head. She would tell me about Bob Dylan or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or working on Kierkegaard in graduate school or watching The Lives of Others or working on Spinoza to prepare for introducing Spinoza to some undergraduates (She said that you never just read Spinoza; you work on Spinoza). She was so deeply important to me; I looked forward to talking to her, every time I had the opportunity. I don't think philosophy would have such a important place in my life, if it was not for Tschemplik. She always talked to me like a colleague; it was because of her that I started to really believe that philosophy was something that I am actually capable of. Since I graduated in 2014, I tried to stay in touch. I visited her office occasionally; I would see her at a talk hosted by the department; I would sit in on her classes, when I could. Seeing her was always the highlight of my week or month or however long it had been since I had seen her last. She always brought joy and inspiration to my life; I hope I did the same for her. The last time I saw her was the spring semester of 2020; I was sitting in on her class, The Beautiful and the Good. It was so good to be back in a classroom with her, every week. After the first class, I had walked with her back to her car, so we could chat and catch up a bit. She told me how much she was looking forward to the class. The previous time she had taught that class was the fall of 2016, and the election had sort of made focusing on the beautiful and the good difficult. She was looking forward to a second opportunity. I wasn't able to attend the class after the pandemic forced classes to go online, so the last time I spoke to her was that last class in March 2020. I had been planning on stopping by her office, with a bottle of wine as a gift, once office hours would be safe again. I wanted to thank her for letting me sit in. I wanted to tell her how much I had gotten out of the class. I was hoping a gift of a bottle of wine might chear her up a little about the second half of the class not being what any of us had expected. I just wanted to thank her for always being so good to me. Andrea Tschemplik was the best teacher I have ever had. She was one of the most influential people in my life. Honestly, I looked up to her more than anybody else in the world. I am so glad that I got to know her, even if it was not for long enough, and I am going to miss her more than I know how to even begin to express.

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Matthew Kessler-Cleary published a tribute .

Dr. Tschemplik made me love philosophical inquiry as I had not prior to studying with her. While it may sound grandiose, studying philosophy under her tutelage was life changing for me. She inspired me to challenge myself, challenge what I see, what I hear, and what I read - to disaggregate ideas until I can sense their essentials elements. Through her marvelous personality, and her excitement for the subject, she somehow even managed to make such a process fun. While I was only her student for one semester, I was devastated to learn of her passing. She had a profound impact on me, and I will forever look back on that semester, and her, with great fondness.

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Loubna H. Skalli published a comment .

Dr. Tschemplik was not only a superb colleague and scholar, but also a deeply caring and kind individual. She’s touched so many lives around her! My life is so much better and richer for having known her.
In fond memories Andrea

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Tim Johnson published a comment .

Thank you for posting this, it is wonderful to hear of how she changed your life. So great.

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Chase De Saint-Félix published a tribute .

My favorite memory of Andrea was a day when she was smoking out by the street on AU's campus, at what was then the newly-designated smoking area. A student from the Eagle newspaper came over to ask her for a quote about her feelings on the new smoking area, now that she couldn't smoke in front of Battelle any longer. She said "Well I don't mind the smoking area but why did they have to put it out next to the street by all these cars? The pollution is so bad for my lungs!"

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Allyson Robichaud published a comment .

Classic Tschemplik.

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Tim Johnson published a comment .

That's fantastic!!!

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Allyson Robichaud published a tribute .

It's cliche to say someone is one of a kind, since we all are, but there was nothing typical about her. She was a wonderful friend through graduate school and beyond. I will always miss her wise counsel.

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Sara Dumont published a tribute .

Several years ago Andrea agreed to lead a ground-breaking summer study abroad program for entering first-year students, and in preparation for that travelled with me to Thessaloniki, Greece, to perform a preparatory site visit, She was in her element to be in Greece, of course, and was a wonderful travelling companion. I have such good memories of sitting with her on the rooftop balcony of our hotel, overlooking the harbour — where she could there was a welcoming bar and she could smoke. We shared hours of drinks, wide-ranging conversation, and laughter, I am so sad that experience is never to be repeated but I will cherish my memories of Andrea forever.

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Veronica published a tribute .

I had a class with Dr. Tschemplik while I was an undergrad. She was a great professor that fostered intellectual conversation. Her excitement for the material was contagious, and she really brought ancient texts to life. She also approached teaching with a great sense of humor, and really connected with all her students. She is remembered fondly.

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Max Paul Friedman published a tribute .

In 2007 I was new to AU and walking through Battelle when I ran into Andrea. Her inimitable smoker's voice - she could have had a glittering career as a character actor in the 1930s - was inflected with an accent, so I greeted her in German. She chortled out some witty retort and ever since then, working on the same floor, we greeted each other with little jokes. She also helped me understand the relationship between Hegel and a forgotten contemporary and rival, Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, whose utopianism was influential in Latin American politics in the first half of the twentieth century. I knew what an anchor she was intellectually in the department, and how much her sense of humor buoyed the morale of her colleagues. It is appropriate that she was at work on a book on the aesthetic dimension of philosophy entitled The True, the Good and the Beautiful, for Andrea was all three.

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Tim Johnson published a tribute .

I had the pleasure of attending graduate school and studying philosophy with the great Andrea. She also became a good friend while we were in school and thereafter. She was funny, strong willed, and fiercely committed to her beliefs. I learned a lot from conversing with her and being part of her world. The average IQ on this planet just went down, I hope those she is keeping company with now have their wits about them and are ready to be both challenged and charmed.

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Eliana Peck published a tribute .

Professor Tschemplik taught me to read Kant and Plato with courage and a sense of humor; she showed her students how to find the joy on every page. She treated even the youngest of us as capable of doing real philosophy, and we became better thinkers as we tried to prove her right. I'm so grateful to be working towards my PhD at the department where she received hers, CUNY Graduate Center, where her dissertation stands on display. A favorite memory: at my graduation in 2016, Andrea took great pleasure in shouting out -- to a stadium of hundreds -- the "Z." that begins my middle name (Zipporah), which some administrator had included on the printed card. I had told her that she needn't read it out, but she clearly thought it would be much more fun to do so.

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Richard Sha published a tribute .

Andrea and I were talking about a former student, and she remarked that he had a beautiful soul. Coming from Andrea, channeling Plato, there could be no higher praise. And she was spot on, except to know a beautiful soul, she had to have one. I will never forget her respect for students, her love of curiosity and ideas, and her kindness. She is the Socratic teacher any of us aspire to, and no one else, not even Diotima, can fill her shoes.

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Andrea Tschemplik Memorial Service

October 30th, 2020 at 11:00am
Event Details & RSVP

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