June 1, 2020  |  News & Events, Sad News, Timely Announcements

Dear Colleagues,

I share with you sad news of the passing of two members of our UWM community.

Justin Rentmeester
The School of Continuing Education shared the sad news that their colleague and friend, Justin Rentmeester, passed away unexpectedly on May 7, 2020.

Justin began working with the School of Continuing Education as a student in 2000 and was hired full-time in 2008. He supported SCE Marketing and IT departments and received outstanding service awards in 2010 and 2019.  The School held a Celebration of Justin’s life on May 15. Justin will be remembered as a thoughtful, helpful, caring, and kind person, and will be greatly missed.

Our condolences to Justin’s family and to the many others whose lives he touched.

Howard James “Jim” Shey
The Classics Program of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature shared the sad news that Dr. Howard James Shey, Associate Professor Emeritus of Classics, passed away on May 19, 2020.

Jim graduated with a BA from Creighton University. The recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, he pursued graduate studies in classical languages, earning his MA from Indiana University and his PhD from the University of Iowa.

From his arrival at UWM in 1968 until his retirement in 2000, Jim taught numerous courses on ancient Greek, Latin, and classical literature and civilization. In addition to his service to the Classics Department at UWM, Jim served as book review editor for Classical Journal (1968-73). His doctoral dissertation on the Roman poet Valerius Flaccus continues to be cited, and while at UWM he published articles on Tyrtaeus, Horace, and Petronius. A fluent reader of hieroglyphs, he developed and taught the Classics program’s first course in Egyptian civilization.

Jim’s books on Latin works by Petrarch are his most outstanding scholarly legacy. With his UWM colleague in Italian, Davy Carozza, he authored a translation of Petrarch’s Secretum with introduction, notes, and an anthology of critical scholarship (1989). A few years after his retirement, Jim published his magnum opus, an edition of Petrarch’s Itinerarium with translation and commentary (2004). His friends and colleagues who regularly chatted with him in Curtin Hall will greatly miss Jim’s easy-going conversation and his witty sense of humor.

For additional details, please see Jim’s obituary online. Our condolences to Jim’s family and to the many others whose lives he touched.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs