Associate Professor Brandie Siegfried passed away peacefully on February 16, 2021, after a battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by her friends, family, colleagues, and students, all of whom benefitted from her passion for literature, truth, and beauty.
Professor Lance Larsen, who is currently serving as chair of the English department, noted, “Brandie has a quicksilver and elegant mind and sees connections everywhere. She had a way of invigorating conversations and drawing out the best from her students and colleagues. We already miss her terribly.”
Originally from Oregon, Siegfried spent her summers building fire trails and contemplating becoming a smoke-jumper. Her non-academic interests included telemark, cycling, fencing, triathlon competition, ken-po, bookbinding, and photography. Mitch Harris, her husband of over twenty years, was also happy to be her telemark, fencing, and cycling partner.
Siegfried was a part of BYU’s English department for 27 years, creating and teaching courses in 16th- and 17th-century English literature, as well as film and gender studies. She enjoyed taking an interdisciplinary approach to literature, often providing perspectives from history, science, philosophy, and art as lenses through which to read Renaissance works. Siegfried’s classes were challenging and rigorous, but students undoubtedly left her courses as better readers, writers, and thinkers.
One student, on the popular platform “Rate My Professor”, wrote of Siegfried, “Brandie Siegfried is the best professor I've ever had. Her passion for learning and for teaching go far deeper than the material for the class. I learned how to connect English to my beliefs, how to understand the physical world and its connections to spirituality, and how to really think critically. I would take her again for any subject, any time.”
Siegfried’s friend and colleague Professor Kristin Matthews (English) remarked, “When Brandie passed away, I lost a teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, and sister. It was she who encouraged me to apply to graduate school back in 1994. I did, and here I am. I will miss her brilliance, her ringing laughter, and her indefatigable support. She loved with abandon and lived life to the fullest. My sympathies to all who loved her."
The English department is currently collecting cards or notes of remembrance to send to her family. Students who wish to contribute can send their card to the English Department Office, 4198 JFSB, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Heather Bergeson (English, ’22)