Former French Dept. chair dies at age 94

Madeleine Rousseau-Raaphorst, Rice professor emeritus of French and a former department chair, died June 23 in Salt Lake City. She was 94.

A Rice alumna who earned a doctorate in French literature in 1959, Rousseau-Raaphorst joined the Rice faculty in 1963 after teaching at Texas Southern University and Ohio Wesleyan University. She served as a member of the French Department until her retirement in 1989, including as chair from 1972 to 1979.

Madeleine Rousseau-Raaphorst

In a note to School of Humanities departments, Dean of Humanities Nick Shumway noted that Rousseau-Raaphorst received the school’s first John Gardner Award for best dissertation as a graduate student and then directed the dissertations of numerous Rice graduate students, two of whom also received that award. “Remembered fondly by her friends and colleagues at Rice, she will be missed,” Shumway wrote.

Rousseau-Raaphorst was born in Tours, France. She earned a law degree in Paris and worked as a lawyer for L’Oréal before immigrating with her husband and two small daughters to Houston in 1953.

She was cremated June 27; her ashes were transported to France for burial in the family cemetery plot.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.