In Memoriam: Josephine Louise Ott, 1926-2018

Josephine Louise Ott, former professor of French at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, passed away on October 20 in Northampton. She was 92 years old.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1947, Ott moved to Paris and taught English at the Ecole Normale d’Instituteur à Saint-Germain-en-Laye. She returned to the United States in 1949 to continue her education and serve as a French instructor at Wellesley College. She held that role until 1952 and later served as the assistant director of the junior year abroad program in Paris for Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

Dr. Ott left Sweet Briar to join Smith College as an instructor of French. She was promoted from assistant professor in 1961, to associate professor in 1966, and finally to professor of French in 1975. She held this position until her retirement in 1992. Additionally, she served as chair of the French department for three separate terms and was dean of the Class of 1967. Throughout her career at Smith, she was dedicated to the college’s junior year abroad Paris program and served as the program’s director on seven separate occasions.

Dr. Ott held a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in French from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in French from Yale University.


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