Deceased April 25, 2022

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In Memory

We are heartbroken to mark the passing of our dear friend and roommate, Hilary Englert, on April 25 at her home in Jersey City, N.J., after a long battle with cancer.  

We arrived at Amherst in 1987 wearing pastel turtlenecks. We left in 1991 wearing black and quoting Derrida, but Hilary was the only one of us who understood what she was saying. 

Hilary also had an uncommon gift for expressing, explaining, translating and teaching. She earned her Ph.D. in English literature from Johns Hopkins University, with primary scholarly interests in 18th-century literature, particularly the development of the novel, the history of reading, reader response criticism and print culture. At New Jersey City University, she was a leader within her department and across the university. She was beloved by her students and will be remembered as a teacher without peer. 

We borrow liberally from beautiful remembrances of those who knew and loved her best, especially her lifelong love and dearest friend, Tris McCall (Greg Saliceti ’92). 

Hilary was a hero to all who knew her and many who didn’t. Her reputation for passion and intelligence preceded her, and when people met her, they were never disappointed. Most straight-up fell in love with her—the only rational thing to do.  

We will remember her for what she was: a great, gorgeous blaze, crackling and laughing, always a little dangerous, radiating warmth, brilliance and illumination to everything near her. She could always be counted on to speak out for what was right and fair. She cared deeply—for her friends, for the world, for lively discourse and a well-turned sentence, for balsamic vinegar, for handed-down recipes and manual transmissions on country roads, for farm-fresh vegetables, for emo music and aspiring painters and singer-songwriters, and for life in all its color and variety. 

Launa Schweizer ’91, Jackie Sherman ’91 and Erin Ash Sullivan ’91