Adrianne Wadewtiz, the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Digital Learning (CDLR), died on April 8 at the age of 37 from injuries sustained while rock-climbing. Wadewitz helped to form Occidental’s 2012 Digital Scholarship Institute and guide CDLR-sponsored Faculty Learning Communities. In her free time, she volunteered as a Wikipedia campus ambassador and educational consultant with the Wikipedia Foundation, according to an April 9 email from Director of Communications Jim Tranquada.
A memorial service was held on campus last Monday filled Herrick Chapel with Wadewitz’s family, friends, co-workers and her students from Cultural Studies Program (CSP) 55, “Through the Looking Glass: Perspective and Reflections on Childhood.” A scholar and educator on children’s literature, Wadewitz co-taught CSP 55 with adjunct assistant professor of psychology Heather Banis ’82. Banis spoke tearfully about her experience co-teaching with Wadewitz and presented her parents with a compilation of children’s stories written by the students in their CSP.
CDLR Director Daniel Chamberlain spoke on Wadewitz’s commitment to feminism in digital media. Wadewitz had recently taken to blogging about the gender gap on Wikipedia. Chamberlain commended Wadewitz’s ability to empathize with others in her quest for change.
Fellow Wikipedia editor Howard Cheng spoke to Wadewitz’s achievements as a contributor to the digital encyclopedia, including her astounding 36 articles that earned a “featured” status on the site. Wadewitz also made over 49,000 edits to the site, and publicly advocated for its advancement, according to the program distributed at the memorial. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales acknowledged Wadewitz’s passing.
“The Wikipedia community has suffered a great loss,” he tweeted.
Wadewitz is survived by her parents, the Rev. Dr. Nathan R. Wadewitz and Betty M. Wadewitz, and her partner, Peter B. James. Donations can be made in her name to the Wikimedia Foundation, the P.E.O. Scholar Awards or to the Occidental College Scholarship Fund.