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Robert Gold

Robert Gold Title: Associate Professor and Fellow of United College


It is with sadness that we inform the University community of the passing of Dr. Robert (Bob) Gold on February 24, 2021. Bob received his MA in Classics from McGill in 1960 and began his career teaching Classics in Winnipeg that same year at United College. After a stint at the University of New Brunswick, Bob returned to the University of Winnipeg in 1969 as an Assistant Professor of Classics. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1974, the same year he completed his PhD (Wisconsin), and he continued as a valued member of the Department of Classics at the University of Winnipeg until his retirement in 1995. His infectious enthusiasm for all things ancient ensured that Bob became a beloved professor whose teaching contributions were officially recognized in 1978 by the University of Winnipeg with the Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. His students remembered him even decades later; Classics and Bob were synonymous in Winnipeg.
In retirement Bob continued to offer lectures at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and for other groups. He taught groups of seniors, whose appreciation was given shape by the Seniors Winnipeg Arts Group’s establishment of the Robert Gold Prize in Ancient Art and Architecture at the University of Winnipeg. His colleague Jane Cahill remembers Bob as a “phenomenal teacher” who was “much loved by his students.” In 1997, the University of Winnipeg honoured him at convocation by making him a Fellow of United College. On that occasion, Jane captured Bob’s personality and conviviality: “you could always tell where the Classics Department was at the University of Winnipeg because you could hear Bob roaring with laughter.” He will be missed.

Read Robert Gold's Winnipeg Free Press obituary

Below is a speech delivered by Jane Cahill on the occasion of Bob being made a Fellow of United College:

Madam Chancellor: it is my privilege to present Robert D. Gold for admission to Fellowship in United College.

Bob was born in Ottawa, Ontario and spent his youth in Montreal. He acquired a B.A. (Hons.) from McGill University, a Quebec Teacher’s Diploma from Bishop’s and an M.A. from McGill. Then he came to United College as a lecturer. The year was 1960. These were the days of students in residence, of Stunt Nite, and of college-wide debates and tournaments.

In 1964 Bob left Winnipeg to begin work on his Ph.D. It would be 1969 before he would return, this time as Assistant Professor of Classics at the new University of Winnipeg, which United College had become in his absence. Whilst away he had met and married Linda Harding. Both of them would be awarded a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Wisconsin. Bob received his in 1974 and was promoted that same year. For the next twenty years Bob taught here, only retiring in 1994. But we know that Bob hasn’t really retired at all. You don’t retire from the way you are, and Bob is by nature a teacher - curious and intuitive, enthusiastic and fair. His services are still much in demand as a teacher in the literal sense and he continues to lecture to Seniors’ groups and the like around Winnipeg.

Clearly, Bob is a superb teacher. He won the Robson award in 1978. But it’s more than that. If you walk down Portage Avenue with Bob you do so very slowly, because students of ten, twenty, even thirty years ago, stop to greet him. And when you tell people that you teach in the Classics department here, their faces light up and they say “then you work with Bob Gold” and then they beam at you as if working with Bob Gold is one of life’s greatest blessings. And, do you know, I think it probably is. I had that honour for eighteen years. For many of those years we had offices in Manitoba Hall opposite Theatre A – not a quiet spot. But the noise I remember most is the sound of laughter from Bob’s office, especially at lunch time. He held “lunch” in there most days. Linda would come down to the college (as Bob still calls the U of W) with sandwiches, and students would be invited to join them.

As a colleague Bob was ideal. He never interfered and he never criticised, but his door was always open and he was generous with his good humour, his knowledge – Bob is a profoundly learned man – and his lunch. He told wonderful stories of the old days in United College, and spoke nostalgically of the qualities of Davy Owen and Victor Leathers and its other admired denizens. These stories always ended in the same way. “Ah, now he was a remarkable person,” Bob would say with a sigh, “a remarkable person.” Well, we think Bob is just as remarkable - blending, as he does, generosity of spirit with dedication, humanity and charm, and it is fitting that he, like Davy Owen and Victor Leathers before him, be admitted to Fellowship in United College. Hic vir rarissimus gaudio non solum docendi discendique sed etiam vivendi hunc honorem amplissime meruit. (This most remarkable man has thoroughly deserved this honour, for the pleasure he takes, and gives, not only in teaching and in learning but also in his life.)

Madam Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate of the University of Winnipeg, I request that you admit Robert D. Gold to fellowship in United College.