In Remembrance: Barbara Hawthorne (1949-2023)

April 30, 2023
Joshua Zaffos

Anthropology instructor Barb Hawthorne
CSU Anthropology instructor and university alum Barb Hawthorne passed away February 2023 (Image via Tim Moore)

Colorado State University anthropology instructor and alumna Barbara Hawthorne passed away this February, leaving a legacy as a compassionate teacher and practitioner who helped developed some of the department’s first online courses. 

"I have been at CSU for 23 years and have known Barb for 21 of them," recalls Anthropology and Geography Chair and Professor Mica Glantz.  "Her enthusiasm for learning and for our students was absolutely infectious.  We were so lucky to be able to get her to develop some of our online cultural classes; even the internet did not stop Barb from having a personal touch and from getting to know our students and supporting them.

"Her students cherished her. Her engagement made them stronger students and better citizens of the world.  She will be greatly missed."

During her time as a CSU instructor, Hawthorne developed and taught several Anthropology courses online, including Introductory Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 100), Modernization and Development (ANTH 313), Art and Culture (ANTH 336), Gender and Anthropology (ANTH 338), and Indians of North America (ANTH 412). She also taught Women’s Studies classes at CSU and anthropology at University of New Mexico, University of Northern Colorado, and Aims Community College, winning several awards as an instructor.

"Barb and I taught together at University of Northern Colorado in person [and at CSU as online instructors]," says Teresa Tellechea, CSU Anthropology instructor. "Her office was like a museum full of artifacts and decorated with little colored lights where you felt transported to some other place and time. I admired her strength as a woman and her commitment to her students."

"Barbara Hawthorne was a wonderful person and a special teacher who developed and taught our earliest online courses," adds Kate Browne, emeritus University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. "She taught anthropology with flair and commitment, and she pursued her work with great joy and a sense of adventure. I think her kindness and big heart brought many students to the field who had struggled to find themselves at CSU."

Hawthorne graduated with an Anthropology BA in 1972, an Anthropology MA in 1999, and a Ph.D in Education and Human Resource Studies in 2004, all from CSU. Her research focused on gender and women’s issues, and art and culture, including her studies and published writing that shared and examined narratives histories of women who worked in the sugar-beet fields of northern Colorado. As a practitioner, Hawthorne developed experiential learning programs with a variety of cultural communities and helped expand museum collections and programs.

"Teaching was a passion for Barb and she was convinced that she could revolutionize every student to become obsessed with learning," says Tim Moore, Hawthorne's brother. "She constantly and creatively sought strategies to challenge her students' own ability to think independently, express opinions, take chances, and to always support their thinking with reassurance that they were never wrong but perhaps not as 'right' as more knowledge and experience might foster. I doubt any student ever left her classes less wise than when they entered."