Tereze Michelsons

Honored by:The Foreign Languages Department
Brick location:PAVER:21  map

Tereze Michelsons, 87, associate professor emerita of foreign languages and literatures, died of respiratory failure at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames on October 22, 1993. She had retired in 1976 after 21 years of service in the Foreign Languages Department, having taught there since 1955. Born in Baku, Russia, in 1906 of Latvian and Swedish parents, Professor Michelsons grew up in Riga Latvia, attending the elementary school and later the Normal School, where she earned her teacher's diploma in 1928. She received the M.A. degree from Middlebury in 1961 in Russian language and literature. During the summers of 1962 and 1963, she joined the Graduate Russian summer school staff at Middlebury College in Vermont. Professor Michelsons came to the United States in August, 1950 with her husband, Boris, who taught German and Latin at Iowa State until his death in 1960. The Michelsons considered themselves political refugees after the end of World War II and lived in West Germany (1945-1950), refusing to return to Latvia, which had fallen under Russian occupation. They became U.S. citizens in 1956 and took an active part in the Ames international community and the Latvian Society of America. In a distinguished teaching career, Professor Michelsons was for several years the Russian department, offering courses at every level, ranging from language and literature to scientific reading. During her tenure in the Foreign Languages Department, many students either majored or minored in Russian under her guidance and inspiration. Through her efforts, the Russian collection in the Library grew. She also served the university community well as hostess and interpreter when Russian-speaking dignitaries and artists were on campus. The reputation of the cultural-social seminars which she offered students in her home at Christmas and Easter reached legendary status. The recognition of her work and devotion is most fittingly acknowledged in her reception of the ISU Faculty Citation Award for Teaching in 1976. She was also cited by Warren B. Kuhn in the same year for developing the Library's Russian collection: "The fact that today we have an excellent collection is most certainly due to your singular hard work and efforts." Professor Michelsons is survived by a niece, Tija Spitsberg, whom she raised, and a grand-nephew, Alexander Weiner, both of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.


Paver Inscription:

"Foreign Language
Dorothy K. Bean
C. Bruner
T. Michelsons
B. Von Wittich"