Frederick C. Wilkins ’56 died on March 29, 2013, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
He was born in Lynn, Mass., on May 23, 1935, and prepared for college at Wakefield (Mass.) High School. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and wrote the music for a musical revue, while William Beeson III ’56 wrote the text. They performed on campus, as well as in Vermont, New Hampshire, and elsewhere in Maine. He went on to earn a master’s degree in English in 1958 and a doctorate in English in 1965, both from the University of Iowa. He served as an instructor of rhetoric and an assistant professor at Boston University from 1963 to 1967. He earned a Fulbright scholarship to Poland, where he was a lecturer of American literature at the University of Lodz from 1967 to 1969. It was in Poland in October 1967 that he met his partner Miroslaw (Mirek) Szejner; the two remained together until Szejner’s death in September 2000. After a year teaching at Northeastern University in 1969, he joined Suffolk University’s English department and served as department chairman from 1978 to 1996. He specialized in Polish literature, Shakespeare, and modern American drama and developed courses focusing on the life and works of Eugene O’Neill. He founded The Eugene O’Neill Newsletter, which evolved into The Eugene O’Neill Review, now the official journal of the Eugene O’Neill Society. He was a member of the Society from its inception in 1979, serving on the board of directors from 1979 to 1981, as vice president from 1981 to 1985, and as president from 1986 to 1988. He retired from Suffolk University in June 2000 after thirty-one years but continued to teach one course each semester.