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On February 15, THHS lost not only a humanities seminar professor, but also an incredible writer and a veteran scholar of the humanities.
Lucia Lermond graduated from Queens College and returned in 1985 to teach philosophy, religion, and feminist theory. During her thirty years of teaching, Professor Lermond became an indispensable member of the humanities department at THHS and Queens College.
“Professor Lermond was instrumental in developing the Seminar, its curriculum, its methods, its standards. She was a brilliant philosophy teacher. She added female authors to the curriculum several years ago, when it became clear that it was too male-centered,” said English teacher Judy Biener, who worked with Professor Lermond for ten years.
Professor Lermond had also received awards for some of her work on philosophy.
Professor Lermond was also an avid philanthropist who had a significant impact on her students.
“She was an exuberant and opinionated teacher who approached literature from a perspective that most people did not,” said senior Ravena Rampersaud. “She challenged her class by causing us to think outside of the obvious. Personally, I found her to be a kind and helpful teacher whose personal one-on-one meetings helped my writing significantly.”
Professor Lermond’s passion for philosophy was particularly evident through her lectures on the classical Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates.
“She lectured very well, for many years, [and with] the seniors I recall that she never used notes; she moved about the stage in complete command of the material and of her audience,” Ms. Biener said.
Arthur Shippee, a Humanities Professor at Queens College who worked closely with Professor Lermond, explained what made her teaching method unique.
“She personified the true spirit of the program: a dedication to the text, read in disciplined and imaginative ways, and to analysis that was rigorous and thought out. A creativity grounded in the evidence reveals the most about texts, for reading is a dialogue marked by engagement and discernment.”
According to her former students, Professor Lermond always put their needs first and took the extra initiative to help them improve their writing.
“One time for one of my humanities essays that she wasn’t even supposed to grade, she told me she would help me with it and we set up an appointment,” said senior David Heifitz.
“I didn’t even expect her to have printed it from my safe assign account and make corrections and notes all over the paper before our appointment. Not only did she correct my mistakes, but she took her time to actually teach me what I did wrong and how to improve on it, which I feel is pretty rare for most teachers nowadays.”
Those who personally knew Professor Lermond expressed her vibrant, distinctive, and caring characteristics.
Rafal Olechowski, Assistant Principal of the Humanities and a colleague of Professor Lermond, recounted, “She always had this supermarket bag with her. It was one of these recyclable bags. It had a picture of a radish and I said, ‘Oh what a nice bag,’ and she bought it for me the next time she saw me.”
To commemorate Professor Lucia Lermond the QC Philosophy Department has established the annual Lucia Lermond Memorial Award available to philisophy students.
As a teacher, an author, and a philosopher, Lucia Lermond made a powerful mark in the humanities.