In Remembrance: Catherine C. Calhoun ’78 Died on January 30 2019

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Catherine C. Calhoun, age 62, of Columbus, Ohio, passed away January 30, 2019. The loving daughter of Shirley C. Calhoun, of Kendal at Granville, and the late Honorable Donald E. Calhoun Jr., and the caring sister of Donald E. Calhoun III of Wilmington, Delaware, and Elizabeth C. Calhoun of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Catherine leaves behind a legacy of intellectual curiosity, independence, and compassion that recognized no boundary geographically, spiritually, and ethnically. Her kind and gentle spirit will be missed by all.  

Cathy was a 1974 graduate of Whetstone High School, 1978 graduate of Yale University (philosophy),  1981 graduate of the Capital University paralegal program, and a 1989 graduate of Ohio State University with a master’s degree in Arabic language and literature.  

After graduating from Yale, Cathy worked briefly for the Architectural League in NYC before returning to Columbus and obtaining a paralegal certification in general legal practice from Capital University Law School.  She used her education while working for the Franklin County prosecutor.  

Cathy became interested in political science and Arabic studies and pursued a master’s degree at Ohio State University.  While at OSU Cathy won a FLAS summer fellowship and also a full-year fellowship at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.  Cathy also received FLAS graduate fellowships from the Middle Eastern Studies Center and was a finalist for a Graduate Associate Distinguished Teaching Award at OSU. 

After earning her master’s, Cathy studied Islamic-Sharia Law at Qatar University in Doha on two Fulbright scholarship grants.  When the first Gulf War broke out, Cathy moved to Al Ain  where she taught English at the United Arab Emirates University.  At UAEU Cathy was recognized for her contributions to the creation of the Basic University Education Center (BUEC), authoring many parts of the curriculum.  

Cathy also received a research grant from UAE University for cultural studies in traditional folk dance.  During her time in the UAE, Cathy was a convert to Islam.   

Cathy later worked as a member of the team setting up objectives and a curriculum for the new Zayed University, at that time a new English-medium university for UAE national women.  While Cathy taught at the Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, she was a role model to her female students, demonstrating what a strong Muslim woman could do.  She strove to open minds culturally and intellectually.

Cathy returned to the USA in 2004 and taught Arabic at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where she was the interim chair of the Arabic department.  She also taught Arabic, including in the honors program, at George Washington University.  Cathy also had a stint teaching Arabic to sailors of the US Navy while at sea in the Persian Gulf.  

—Submitted by the family.

2 remembrances

  • Liv Sovik
    Liv Sovik, 6:41am May 16 2019 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I am very sad to hear of Cathy’s death. I tried to locate and to contact her a few times over the years, to no avail. I remember her fondly as someone who laughed easily and as a pensive person who kept her thoughts mainly to herself. The photograph brings back the desire to talk to her and speaks of some joy. I hope there was a lot of it.

  • Daniel Casey
    Daniel Casey, 8:00am June 10 2019 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    My sincere condolences to the Calhoun family on Cathy's passing.

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