Elisabeth (Lisi) Oliver, professor of English at Louisiana State University, died Sunday of injuries sustained in a bicycling accident. Lisi will always remembered for her dedication to teaching and learning. Her goal at LSU, she once said, was to make "a large university feel like a small and dynamic learning community." Born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1951, Lisi attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, before entering the world of opera, working for several years as an assistant to Sara Caldwell at the Opera Company of Boston. Seeking new and different professional challenges, she entered Harvard University where she received her PhD in Linguistics in 1995. A year later, she joined the faculty of the LSU English department, concentrating on early medieval and comparative law but serving, as she put it, "as a type of utility infielder," teaching classes ranging from historical linguistics to Pidgins and Creoles to Arthurian literature. She authored several books on early English law and was recognized by her peers as a leader in her field. Her career at LSU was distinguished by her extraordinary energy and included numerous teaching awards as well as, most recently, the university's prestigious Distinguished Research Master award. But important as it was, academics was only part of Lisi's life, which also revolved around music (ukulele, mandolin, and singing), bicycling (in Louisiana and France), rooting for her beloved Lady Tigers basketball team, and – most important – her dogs, Jasper and Pilot. Lisi touched many lives with her keen intellect, her infectious and eccentric sense of humor, and her unbounded generosity. She couldn't help but make friends with everyone she met. She is survived by her brothers, Gus, Peter, and Bim and by her niece, Lily, and her nephew, Matthew.
Published by The Advocate from Jun. 9 to Jun. 11, 2015.