Obituary of Wayne H. Finke
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Wayne H. Finke on March 16, 2023. He was 81 years old. Wayne was an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Baruch College (CUNY). He was the deputy chair of the Department since 2001. Professor Finke's field of interest included peninsular Spanish literature and a secondary interest in Cuban cinema and literature. He was a dedicated scholar as he co-edited several books and served as the editor of The American Society of Geolinguistics.
Wayne H. Finke was born in Emerson, New Jersey on August 7, 1941. Throughout his formal education, he excelled in his subjects. In high school, he developed a profound interest in Spanish. After high school, he attended New York University and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Spain. His Ph.D. dissertation at NYU provided the first study of the pioneering medieval criticism of the Catalonian critic, Manuel Milá y Fontanals. While completing his Ph.D. program he also completed work on the famous Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca.
In the late 1980s, he worked briefly at the Professional Children's School as a Spanish teacher. He then received a tenure track position at Baruch College. He remained at the college for over thirty-five years until his death. In 1996, Professor Finke went on his first of many trips to Havana, Cuba. On several occasions, he was an invited guest of the island’s literary institute and presented his research to Cuban scholars.
Wayne, as he was affectionately called by his close friends, was a world traveler. He spoke four languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. During his travels, he developed lifelong friendships in Brazil, Holland, Spain, France, Italy, Cuba, and Japan. He served on the Dissertation Committee of Daito Bunka University in Tokyo (2014-2018).
It was not uncommon to see Professor Finke working in his office seven days a week and editing papers for the American Society of Geolinguistics or ASG. His vision to expand the geolinguistic conferences to Tokyo and Kathmandu proved to be successful. The annual conferences are held in those cities thanks to Professor Finke’s academic commitment to ASG. His dedication also extended to his students. He was one of the college's leaders in the study abroad program and encouraged many Baruch and CUNY students to study Spanish in Salamanca, Spain.
Outside of his professional life, Wayne enjoyed having lunch and dinner with his friends at many local restaurants. His friends were his family. Wayne’s generosity, compassion, and intellect will forever be missed by his colleagues, friends and students, but his spirit will live on in all whose lives he touched.
In Loving Memory
1941 - 2023
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