By Lucy Frost-Helms
On July 15, Dr. Stefan Forrester, better known as Steve by his friends, family and colleagues, suddenly, yet peacefully, passed away in his home.
Forrester was the University of Montevallo’s only philosophy professor and was heavily involved in both UM’s and the city of Montevallo’s community.
Forrester, who was a lover of philosophy, poetry, creative writing and the humanities in its full scope, was a lifelong learner and passionate about education. Even throughout his professional career at UM, Forrester continued his educational journey by attaining a Master of Arts in religious studies from Athens State University. Forrester pursued this degree in hopes of offering religious studies classes in the upcoming fall 2023 semester.
Adjacent to his Master of Arts in religious studies, Forrester held a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, a Master of Arts in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester.
Forrester was originally from Illinois and first began his teaching career at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. from 2005-07. Forrester then began his career at UM in the English department in 2007.
Forrester began as an Assistant Professor of English. Soon after, he was promoted to Associate Professor before taking over as UM’s only philosophy professor in 2020 after the retirement of former philosophy professor, Dr. Michael F. Patton.
Forrester further cultivated the philosophy and religion minor in 2020, regularly teaching classes, some of them within the Honors Program. His course load regularly included an introduction to philosophy, ethics and logic. He also led the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, which aims to allow students’ freedom of choice in developing a unique, interdisciplinary course of study in lieu of a traditional major.
Forrester also loved to expand the walls of philosophy in his classroom with special topic offerings often co-taught with other faculty members. Such topics included The Philosophy of Peace and Justice, The Philosophy of Science and Technology and The Philosophy of Poetry. The Philosophy of Peace and Justice class offering, co-taught last with Dr. Meredith Tetloff, became a class for the peace and justice studies minor, which Forrester helped to create.
Outside of the classroom, Forrester was involved in UM’s community as former Faculty Senate President. He was also involved in the city of Montevallo’s community and contributed to the “Chamber Chatter” publication by creating crossword puzzles. Forrester held a keen interest in vocabulary, and by experience, his crossword puzzles were never boring and always challenging.
Away from Montevallo, Forrester loved to travel and visited countries such as Scotland, England, Portugal, Spain and St. Croix as well as Cuba, which he visited with UM students and history professor Dr. John Bawden as part of his class ‘Montevallo in Cuba.’
Forrester was a friend and mentor to many. His sense of humor, invaluable bank of knowledge and jolly yet sophisticated demeanor cultivated a presence that was more than just a professor.
His classes were interesting, thoughtful, insightful and aimed at discussion. Forrester never turned down an opinion and took interest in all ways of thinking, aiming to create collaborative conversations between all students.
He will forever be remembered by not only his teaching, but also by his laugh, his suspenders, his yellow coffee mug that seemed to accompany him everywhere, his kindness and for his love of education, Montevallo and his students.
UM will always be appreciative of Forrester’s contributions to its history; he will be dearly missed.
Lucy Frost-Helms is the copy editor of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in social science and minoring in philosophy. She enjoys being a goober, eating chicken salad for breakfast, watching “National Treasure” and telling you that she will “definitely pay you back for that.” Lucy has the worst memory of all time and will forget major, important details of stories you tell her.