Lafayette mourns loss of former French professor


Roxane Lalande once chaired the French department. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette College)

On Nov. 17, award-winning professor of foreign languages and literature Roxanne Lalande passed away. Lalande taught French at the college for 37 years before retiring in 2018. 

Lalande joined the faculty as a lecturer in 1981. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1982, associate professor in 1988 and gained full professorship in 2000, leading the language department from 1998 to 2004. She also chaired the study abroad program from 2005 to 2008.

In her time at Lafayette, she served as the chair for both the Academic Research and the Diversity faculty committees. Lalande also co-directed an initiative at Lafayette and Urisnus College to “enhance foreign-language instruction through the use of digital technologies,” according to French professor Olga Duhl, a former colleague of Lalande.

Lalande also developed the college’s coordinate major in international economics and commerce, in addition to her authorship of many books and articles about 17th-century French theater, comic theory and the epistolary novel.

Outside of her professional career, Lalande enjoyed gardening, cooking and writing.

“Professor Lalande was a wonderful friend and colleague with whom I shared a profound passion for languages, literary analysis, women authors and the rhetorical strategies by which they became part of the literary canon of early-modern France,” French professor Olga Duhl wrote in an email.

The Office of Religious & Spiritual Life and the Department of Languages and Literary Studies held a memorial service this Thursday to honor the life of Lalande.