Global Languages notes with sadness the passing of Andrea Wirth on May 12 following a long battle with cancer. Andrea joined MIT in 2002 before transferring to Global Languages’ predecessor, Foreign Languages & Literatures, in 2003. She served the department as its undergraduate academic administrator for twelve years before moving to the Dean’s Office of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences where she administered the School’s academic programs and coordinated the efforts of academic administrators throughout the School.
Andrea was wholly dedicated to the mission of MIT, SHASS, and Global Languages. She worked closely with and supported thousands of MIT students to guide them successfully through their degree and program requirements.
In addition to her work at MIT, Andrea was a passionate percussionist, playing a rope-tensioned field drum for over two decades with a 45-member Fife and Drum Corps: the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums. She was also an avid traveller and enjoyed life to its fullest.
Andrea’s enthusiasm and warmth will be dearly missed by the friends, colleagues, and students who had the opportunity to benefit from her kind and gracious presence. Global Languages expresses deepest condolences to all those whom Andrea touched.
Andrea’s outgoing personality, sense of humor and the talent of drumming will be sorely missed. I wish I could still see her playing the drums on the lawn on Patriates Day at Lexington. – Tong Chen, Lecturer in Chinese
Our friendship quickly grew through our passion for music and for traveling and for our love of Amsterdam. Each year I was eagerly waiting to see the beautiful pictures of her trips. I do not want to say “good bye” but “thank you.” Thank you for her loyal friendship, her sincere kindness, her positive energy, her warm smile and her valuable support. – Cathy Culot, Lecturer in French
Andrea was one of the most humane, good-hearted people I’ve ever met. She was a woman of rock-solid integrity. She always had a welcoming ear. I’ll miss her kindness, laugh, and compassion, as well as her exceptional work ethic. I’ll miss her deeply. – Nilma Dominique, Lecturer in Portuguese
I greatly appreciated her warmth, friendliness, generosity, patience, wealth of knowledge and professionalism throughout the time we worked together. I vividly remember her happy face while playing the drum in a bright uniform, and in the photos of her wedding. I miss her terribly. Her beautiful smile and laughter will stay with us forever. – Masami Ikeda, Lecturer in Japanese
What I remember most about Andrea was her calm demeanor. No matter what emergency was swirling around the department, Andrea was like a ship firmly anchored in the harbor. Whether the problem was big or small, Andrea was always ready with a smile. Outside of work, I remember our fun times at the Muddy Charles. And whenever I see teal—her favorite color!—I will remember her. She will be greatly missed by me and by everyone who knew her. – A.C. Kemp, Lecturer in English Language Studies
Andrea’s prompt responses and sense of humor helped me make the adjustment to a new workplace, and made it feel like home. I also always admired pictures of fife and drum events that Andrea shared (in fact, I learned about the role of “fife and drum” in U.S. history from her). She always had time to talk and to share a joke, and always found a way to solve a tricky concentration or minor field question. It’s hard to imagine MIT without Andrea. – Maria Khotimsky, Senior Lecturer in Russian
Andrea touched my life in so many ways since my days as a junior faculty member in FLL. She taught me the importance of good humor, perspective, and balancing work with travel. And she was truly a role model in courage. – Professor Emma Teng
If you’d like to hear Andrea discussing drumming and the fife and drum community, listen to this PODCAST from Bottom of the Glass in 2021.
Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums music and video clips available by clicking on image below.