It is with deep sadness that The University of Tulsa acknowledges the passing of Distinguished Professor of Literature Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who died at Hillcrest Medical Center on April 1, 2017. He was 84.
Yevtushenko was an internationally renowned Russian poet and had been a faculty member at TU since 1992. He spent time outside of class teaching and conducting readings of Babi Yar and other works in New York City, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere around the globe.
“It is evident that none of us who knew him – and any of the many students he taught over the years – will ever forget the force of nature he was,” said Provost Roger Blais. “Zhenya first visited TU for a poetry reading at the request of then-President Robert Donaldson, who also was the university’s leading expert on Russia. Soon after, Zhenya accepted an offer to join the Department of English faculty and make his home in Tulsa.”
Yevtushenko was admired and respected by students, faculty colleagues, fellow writers and world leaders alike. Despite health setbacks in recent years, he continued to teach at TU and often traveled to cities where he was feted with awards and accolades.
TU recognized Yevtushenko with a Doctor of Fine Arts Honoris Causa in 1993 and by induction as an honorary member of the university’s Beta of Oklahoma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 2000.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Yevtushenko’s widow, Maria Novikova, and his children. A campus memorial service is being planned and information will be shared with the TU family once finalized. His body will be buried in Peredelkino, a writers’ colony near Moscow.