Marjorie Susan Venit, Professor Emerita (1941-2017)

The Department mourns the loss of our dear colleague, mentor, and friend, Professor Emerita Marjorie S. Venit, who died on 23 June, 2017 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Marjorie joined the Department in 1982, the year in which she received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.  She retired in 2014.

She was a renowned specialist in the art and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world with an emphasis on the Greek center and its periphery considered both geographically and temporally.  Particularly interested in the intersection of cultures and ethnicities, she excavated at Tel Anafa, Israel, and Mendes, Egypt.  She was the author of Visualizing the Afterlife in the Tombs of Graeco-Roman Egypt and Monumental Tombs of Ancient Alexandria: The Theater of the Dead (both with Cambridge University Press), as well as Greek Painted Pottery from Naukratis in Egyptian Museums (American Research Center in Egypt Catalogs, volume 7 [Ancient Naukratis Project, vol. 6]).  Her book projects were supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the J. P. Getty Trust. Among her other national awards were a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship and fellowships from the American Research Center in Egypt, the American Association of University Women, and the American Philosophical Society.  A more detailed account of her prolific scholarship may be found here:

As a special remembrance of Marjorie, of her wit and passionate commitment to young scholars and our discipline, we share with you her storied Commencement address:

Marjorie’s obituary, in the New York Times, may be found below, along with a guestbook at

Marjorie has provided for a public lecture, the Marjorie S. Venit Memorial Lecture, in the field of Ancient Mediterranean Art History and/or Archaeology, to be administered by the Department.  We are planning for the inaugural lecture, to be held on campus next spring on 20 April, 2018, at which time there will be a celebration of her life (details will be forthcoming). The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, monetary gifts be directed to the lecture fund. If you would like to contribute to the fund, please make your checks out to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation (UMCPF), and in the remarks line, please note: Venit Fund.

These can be mailed to: Ania Waller, Financial DirectorDepartment of Art History and Archaeology1211-B Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building3834 Campus DriveUniversity of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1335

At Commencement, Marjorie liked to quote from Constantine P. Cavafy's "Ithaca":

“As you set out for Ithaca, hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery."

Marjorie’s words have been our guide for every Commencement since she retired.  She will be remembered and honored – and deeply missed – in all the years to come.