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IU Northwest mourns the loss of former Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Kathleen Forgey

Forgey, who was also a Continuing Studies graduate of IU Northwest, taught anthropology courses at the university for more than 10 years´╗┐

Former Adjunct Professor Kathleen Forgey, Ph.D.

Former IU Northwest Adjunct Professor Kathleen Forgey, Ph.D.

Indiana University Northwest mourned one of its own this week as news of the passing of former Adjunct Professor Kathleen Forgey, Ph.D., made its way across the campus. Forgey passed away in Florida over the weekend after a long illness.

Forgey, who was also a Continuing Studies graduate of IU Northwest, taught anthropology courses here for more than 10 years, and she specialized in medical and forensic anthropology. She also conducted research at Chicago’s Field Museum and took students on forensic and anthropology field excursions to work with mummies in Peru.

Forgey, a resident of Chesterton, had left her adjunct teaching position in January 2010 due to illness. Plans for a local memorial service are pending.

Anthropology Program Coordinator and Associate Professor Robert Mucci, Ph.D., credited his colleague and former student with making substantive contributions to IU Northwest’s growing anthropology program, which expanded from a two-year into a four-year program in cooperation with IU South Bend in 2009.  

“She really involved herself in her classes,” Mucci said. “Unlike most adjuncts, she taught upper-level, specialized classes.”

Forgey was well known on campus for the mock crime scene that she would set up west of Tamarack Hall each spring as part of a field exercise for her forensic anthropology students. She would bury lifelike bones and related evidence in the ground and then have her students work the crime scene by extracting, studying and cataloguing the evidence.

The class exercise even garnered Forgey and her class local media attention, including a feature in the Northwest Indiana Times in 2009.

This week, Facebook pages for Forgey and for the IU Northwest Anthropology Program displayed testaments to her impact on students.

“At the moment, I barely have the words to express my sadness and sense of loss,” wrote 2006 sociology/anthropology graduate Charlotte Noble, who is pursuing her doctorate in Florida. “Kathy Forgey is one of the main reasons I'm an anthropologist instead of a nurse; I took a required course from her that totally changed my life. She was an inspiration to me, and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones.”

Current IU Northwest student and Student Government Association President Jessica Flores also recalled Forgey as friend and mentor. 

“She was such an inspiration, so intelligent, so passionate, and was always cheerful, with a smile on her face,” wrote Flores, who is a double major in anthropology and psychology. “I'm truly blessed to have had the great experience of having her as my professor, as a friend, as a mentor, and as someone I could look up to … she will always have a place in my heart!”

Forgey began teaching courses while pursuing her advanced degrees at the University of Illinois at Chicago and then remained in the adjunct role while also pursuing her research interests. In 2009, she received IU Northwest’s Associate Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award.

“She always said it was her plan to take my job when I retired,” Mucci said. “But she wound up teaching in parallel with me.

“She thought very highly of the effect I had on her. And I used her, in my mind, as an example of the idea that ‘I will live forever because I am affecting other people’s minds.’ And then she actually did that.

“You can see that people’s lives have been changed by her. So she lives on as part of all of her students as well as family and friends,” he said.  


Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing & Communications

Charles Sheid
Office of Marketing & Communications

Related Links

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

IU Northwest Anthropology Facebook Page

2009 Northwest Indiana Times Article