Edward William Najam ’38 died on May 9, 2005, in Bloomington, Indiana.
Born on October 28, 1916, in Danbury, CT, he prepared for college at Danbury High School and became a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity at Bowdoin. Following his graduation in 1938 cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was a risk analyst with the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company’s crime division in Boston for four years and then taught French and German at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA, until 1947. In 1950, he received a master of arts degree in Romance languages from Duke University and, in 1953, he received his doctor of philosophy degree in Romance languages from the University of North Carolina. While in graduate school he was an instructor in French at Duke and an assistant professor of French and Spanish at North Carolina. From 1954 until his retirement in 1987, he taught at Indiana University, where he was also an assistant dean from 1958 to 1965. He served briefly as acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and for seven years was executive secretary of the University Committee on International Affairs, helping establish the National Graduate University in Islamabad, Pakistan. For 25 years he was the chair of Indiana’s Committee on Retiring Faculty. He was a visiting professor at Duke in 1965 and again in 1988 and for two terms was president of the Indiana State Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. In 1972, the French government honored him as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of French culture in the United States. Following his official retirement in 1987, he continued for some years to teach during the first semester of the academic year at Indiana. He was a member of the Modern Languages Association and the executive committee of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, served as secretary of the Bloomington Hospital Advisory Board, and was for many years a member of the Bloomington Rotary Club. He also served as secretary- treasurer and president of the Indiana University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Surviving are his wife, Agnes Parker Najam, whom he married in 1946; a son, Edward W. Najam, Jr. of Bloomington; and two sisters, Jimetta C. Nahil and Mary L. Jenkins; and a brother William J. Najam, Jr. of Brookfield, CT.