University professor Jean VandenBosch died at a hospital in Laurel on Sunday after complications from surgery. She was 73.
VandenBosch taught in this university’s communication department for about five years and was loved by her students and colleagues, department chair Shawn Parry-Giles said. She taught the general education COMM107 class and worked in the Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translating department.
“Jean represented this ideal teacher because she gained so much joy from working with students,” Parry-Giles said. “She had a tremendous impact. She was somebody that everyone loved.”
VandenBosch was teaching COMM107, Oral Communication: Principles and Practices, this semester, Parry-Giles said. She could recognize when students were struggling and loved to reach out and help, Parry-Giles added.
VandenBosch worked as a drama and speech teacher at Laurel High School and as an instructor at Prince George’s Community College, said Sam Rubin, a faculty member in the communication department.
Rubin met VandenBosch in 1989 and worked with her at several schools including this university and Prince George’s Community College. He said they used to joke that they were a package deal because they worked together so much.
Rubin called her loss “a real blow to the department and to the field of communications.”
“There was no colleague or student who didn’t think the world of her,” Rubin said. “She just lit up a room. She was always there for everyone at all times.”
He added he used to jokingly call her “Mean Jean,” because she was “never mean at all.” She was unforgettable and supportive of her colleagues, he said.
Andrew Wolvin, executive director of the Oral Communication Program, said VandenBosch decided to come out of retirement after communication became a general education requirement at this university.
Wolvin met VandenBosch when VandenBosch was a graduate student at this university. She specialized in voice and diction skills and would work with international students in Wolvin’s program and the interpreting and translating program.
Wolvin’s wife worked with VandenBosch at Laurel High School and the two were close, Wolvin said.
“We’re all just stunned. This was so unexpected,” he said. “Her accolades are well deserved; they reflect a warm and caring person.”
A memorial service was held for her on Tuesday at the March Life Tribute Center in Laurel. About 30 of her colleagues from this university attended, and the communication department plans to hold its own memorial for her before the end of the semester, Parry-Giles said.