The Tragic News of the Passing of CNELC and History Professor Diane Harris Cline

July 26, 2023

Diane Harris Cline

Diane Harris Cline

Sadly, we are needing to convey some very difficult departmental news. As many of you know, Professor Diane Harris Cline of the CNELC and History Departments had been battling cancer for the past few semesters. She passed away peacefully on the evening of Saturday, July 8th, surrounded by her loving family, including her devoted husband, Professor Eric H. Cline, and their adult children, Hannah and Joshua. She was just 62 years old. The funeral and interment were held on Wednesday, July 12th, at Temple Mt. Sinai Cemetery (El Paso, Texas), where her family has deep roots going back to the 1880s. At some point later in the summer, or in the early part of the Fall Semester, a Memorial Service will be held in our area here (more details will follow in the coming weeks). You are most welcome to attend that Memorial Service (and it will also be live streamed, for those who cannot attend in person). With the family, we grieve the tragic passing of such a bright light in our world and within our department.

There is so much that we could say about “Lady Cline,” as many students affectionately called her. She was a gifted scholar, with a BA from Stanford and an MA and Ph.D. from Princeton. She was also a former student at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome as well as at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. During her career, she received numerous awards: she was twice a Fulbright Scholar; received multiple fellowships from the NEH; and received the National Archives 2021 Citizen Archivist Award. She was Associate Professor of History and Classics here at GW, and she was also the Coordinator of the Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies Program in CNELC. She was a tremendous colleague and a cherished friend.

And, of course, she was a gifted and devoted teacher. Among her most popular classes were Alexander the Great, Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, the History of Greece, Mythology of the Classical World, Greek and Roman Drama, and Digital History. She was certainly, as many of you can attest, a master teacher. Demonstration of this is not only the various teaching awards she received, including the Columbian Prize for Teaching, the prestigious Bender Teaching Award, and the Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in Teaching, but also and especially the lore in our halls about her wonderful classes.

Equally impressive were, of course, her many scholarly contributions, including her National Geographic book entitled The Greeks: An Illustrated History (2016), her Oxford University Press volume entitled The Treasures of the Parthenon and Erechtheion (1995), an edited volume (which she co-edited with her beloved husband, Professor Eric Cline) The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium (Université de Liège, 1998). In addition, she authored scores of refereed academic articles, a number of which focus on social network analysis in antiquity, an area of research in which Professor Diane Harris Cline was one of the foundational and most prolific scholars. She will be so very sorely missed.

One of the most impressive and most moving of her lectures was just recently delivered on April 18th at GW, on the occasion of her retirement. It was the last lecture that she ever gave; an autobiographical and erudite remembrance entitled simply “A Life in Classics”. We heartily recommend this lecture to any and all. In addition, the GW Hatchet published a moving tribute on August 22, 2023, and you might also wish to read the Archaeological Institute of America's obituary for Professor Cline.

We also wish to mention that for those wishing to make a memorial contribution, the family suggests the Washington Sinfonietta or Eugene-Springfield Youth Orchestras, P.O. Box 5666, Eugene, OR 97405.

Finally, since Professor Cline taught so many students here in addition to our majors and minors, please feel free to forward this link along to your friends who might have had her in class, but who might not happen to see this note.  Thank you.

With heavy hearts,

Chris Rollston and Elise Friedland