LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas community is grieving the death of Jan Kozma, professor emerita of Italian, who died Nov. 9 at her home. She was 72.
“Professor Kozma was a dedicated scholar and teacher who shared her passion for Italian language and literature with her students throughout her 37 years at KU,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “On behalf of the entire university, I offer my condolences to her family, her friends and all who knew her at KU.”
Kozma joined KU in 1977 as an assistant professor. For 37 years, she taught Italian language and literature in KU’s Department of French & Italian. Early in her career, she published two textbooks on Italian language. In 1978, she instituted the KU Study Abroad Program in Florence and Rome, directing it herself many times.
For her excellence in teaching, Kozma received a Kemper Award and a Mortar Board Award, and she was a five-time winner of the Cramer Award. She served as the department chairperson from 1987 to 1992, and in that year she attained the rank of full professor. Throughout the years, she served on — and at times chaired — numerous committees for the university and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences before retiring in 2014.
Kozma’s scholarly interests were the novel and poetry of 19th and 20th century Italy, in particular the work of Alberto Moravia, Vasco Pratolini, Francesca Duranti and Nobel Laureate Grazia Deledda. She was the author of two books of literary criticism, “The Architecture of Imagery in Alberto Moravia’s Fiction” and “Grazia Deledda’s Eternal-Adolescents: The Pathology of Arrested Maturation.”
She also translated three novels by Deledda and wrote numerous articles and book reviews. For her academic contributions to the field of Italian language and literature, Italy honored Kozma by naming her Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, 1631 Crescent Road.