William & Mary

Message on the passing of Lewis William Leadbeater

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community on Jan. 28, 2014 - Ed.

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share the news that Lewis William Leadbeater died on January 21, 2014.

Lewis William Leadbeater, a long-time member of the Department of Classical Studies, died of respiratory failure on January 21, 2014 at 75.  Dr. Leadbeater pursued undergraduate study in Greek at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Ph.D. in Classics from New York University.  He joined the faculty of what was at that time called the Department of Ancient Languages at the College of William & Mary in 1965.  For 36 years he taught undergraduate classes in Greek language and literature, and he was also a founding member of the Comparative Literature program, in which field he both taught and published original papers on the extensive influence of classical Greek poets, playwrights and philosophers on subsequent Western literature.  Lew gleefully steered the humanities to sweet victory in one of the legendary William & Mary Raft Debates, and in 1986 he was honored with the Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching for "his diligence and care in preparation for his classes and his devotion to teaching." 

Upon his retirement from the College in 2001, he was lauded as a "master of the Socratic method, leading his students by interrogation to think through every issue of literature and philosophy down to its first principle."  He authored a book of critical notes on Homer's Iliad and published frequently in scholarly journals devoted to both Classics and Comparative Literature.  Following his retirement from the College, Lew accepted an invitation to write regularly on local political and social issues in an opinion column, "Notes from the Edge," published biweekly in the Virginia Gazette for more than ten years.  For his work, he received five Certificates of Merit for column writing from the Virginia Press Association, including first-place awards in 2005 and 2010.  His collected columns may still be read online at his website, www.LewLeadbeater.com.

Memories of Lew or expressions of sympathy may be emailed to the family at LewLeadbeater@gmail.com.  Contributions in his memory may be made to the Heritage Humane Society, 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185 or to the James City-Bruton Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 911, Toano, VA 23168.