Queen’s community mourns Professor Andrew Bretz

Memorial to mark passing of English professor

Professor Andrew Bretz
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

After spending only a year at Queen’s, Professor Andrew Bretz passed away on Aug. 21 and left behind a legacy of excellence in research and teaching. He was 42. 

His death was a sudden tragedy, felt by students and faculty alike.

The following week, the English Department published an obituary which detailed Bretz’s achievements and contributions to academia.

“An out-going and energetic colleague, Dr. Bretz distinguished himself quickly as a charismatic teacher and dedicated researcher,” the Department’s obituary read. 

Bretz joined Queen’s in the Fall of 2017, after accepting a Term Adjunct position with the English Department. 

Bretz taught students with an infectious enthusiasm, delivering entertaining and impactful lectures.

His classes were a space for open discussion and he encouraged students to criticize his ideas. Bretz’s love for Shakespeare and literature was apparent and he aimed to encourage that passion in all his students. 

During his year at Queen’s, Bretz was nominated for the Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes Queen’s professors who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to their students through “remarkable teaching.”

Bretz earned both his BA in Philosophy in 1999 and MA in English in 2007 at the University of Calgary. From there, he continued his studies in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. 

After completing his PhD in 2012, Bretz continued his career as an academic at the University of Guelph, where his teaching was recognized in 2013 with the University of Guelph Central Student Teaching Excellence Award. 

While teaching, Bretz was published multiple times in scholarly journals such as the  Shakespeare Bulletin, establishing himself as a prominent voice in the academic analysis of Shakespeare. 

Similarly, Bretz edited multiple editions of the Oxford University Press publication of Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest. 

At the time of his death, Bretz was at the forefront of literary research in Canada. He was the Acting Project Coordinator for the Canadian Shakespeare Association—an association he helped found.  

“Many of our students will be shaken by this loss, both those who studied with him last year, and those who have been looking forward to his courses in the coming academic year,” read the Department’s obituary. 

An informal gathering hosted by the English Department will be held Friday, Sept. 14 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Watson Hall 517. 

The event encourages students, staff, and faculty to attend in memoriam. 

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