Tuesday, August 26


Boise State Community Mourns Loss of Beloved Professor
The Boise State campus community is today mourning the loss of a beloved professor and colleague. Mary Ellen Ryder, longtime associate professor of linguistics, died last night in the tragic fires in Southeast Boise. Ryder, 56, began teaching at Boise State in 1988 and was well loved by both her students and colleagues.
In a statement to the campus community this morning, President Bob Kustra said the following, “As a teacher, she has spread the joy of learning and discovery to countless students. She will be missed as a vital member of our campus community. Our thoughts are with her husband, Peter, and their families and friends.”
In spring 2007, Ryder took a sabbatical to work on an article with colleague Linda Marie Zaerr titled “A Stylistic Analysis of Le Roman de Silence.” She often traveled to Britain to give presentations at universities in that country and was believed to be one of the only linguists in the state who specialized in psycholinguistics. She regularly added extra seats in a class that was required for all English majors, to accommodate students who weren’t able to register.
Nineteen homes were damaged or destroyed in the fire, displacing a number of other families with Boise State connections. University counseling services are available for anyone by calling 426-1601.
There are several opportunities on campus for Boise State faculty and staff to help those affected by the devastating Southeast Boise fires.
  • A student scholarship fund has been started in the name of Mary Ellen Ryder. Contributions can be made through the Boise State University Foundation located in Capitol Village or by calling 426-3276.
  • Financial donations can be received on campus for the Red Cross, Idaho Disaster Relief Fund set up to assist families. Red Cross donation canisters are located at the Student Union Information Desk, Registrar’s Office on the first floor of the Administration Building and the Parking and Transportation Offices. Collections will be taken until Sept. 3 during regular business hours.
  • Clothing, blankets and linen donations can also be received at the Student Union Information Desk, Administration Building first floor and the Parking and Transportation Offices. Donations collected through Sept. 3 will be given to the Firefighter’s Boise Burn Out Fund.
  • Finally, any students who may have lost their Boise State textbooks due to the fire are asked to contact the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs for assistance at 426-1418.

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