Those who knew Melody van Lidth de Jeude, a doctoral candidate in UNC’s Department of Communication Studies, said she was a good person and skilled educator.
Van Lidth de Jeude died May 27 after what Philip van Lidth de Jeude, her husband, said was a brief but intense illness. She was 58.
He said his wife was a cheerful and welcoming woman.
“We always used to feel that she had ‘be positive’ blood,” he said.
Van Lidth de Jeude was an adjunct instructor at Elon University for the past four years, where she taught courses in public speaking, interpersonal communication and the communication process.
“Students really loved her and always had wonderful things to say about her,” said Don Grady, associate professor and associate dean at Elon.
In April, van Lidth de Jeude received the Martha Nell Hardy Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Patricia Parker, an associate professor in the communications department and van Lidth de Jeude’s adviser, said the award meant a lot to van Lidth de Jeude.
“Melody is the kind of teacher to which students gravitate because of the warm and inviting learning environment she creates,” Parker said.
Philip van Lidth de Jeude said his wife worked to help her students get out of their comfort zones.
“She believed very strongly in helping people overcome their fears,” he said. “Polls show that one thing people fear most is public speaking.”
Courtney McCluney, a former student of van Lidth de Jeude’s who graduated from UNC in May, said van Lidth de Jeude changed the way she looked at her field of study.
“It has given me confidence to use this knowledge to help work for social justice and otherwise help to make the world a better place,” McCluney said of the small group communication course she had with van Lidth de Jeude.
Elon’s School of Communica-tions has planned a memorial ceremony for September.
Philip van Lidth de Jeude said he has been contacted by more than 200 of his wife’s students and colleagues.
“It is quite a demonstration of how Melody touched people,” he said.
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