In memoriam: John W. Stamper, associate dean, professor of architecture

Author: Dennis Brown

John W. Stamper

John W. Stamper, associate dean and professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, died Wednesday (Jan. 5). He was 71.

“John Stamper was devoted to his students and colleagues, he served his profession and the University, and through his research as well as his teaching, he leaves behind an immense legacy,” Stefanos Polyzoides, the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of the school, said. “He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.”

A native of South Bend, Stamper earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in art history from the Williams College and Clark Art Institute graduate program.

After working in the field in South Bend and Chicago, Stamper earned his doctoral degree in architectural history from Northwestern University. His dissertation topic was published as his first book, “Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue: Planning and Development 1900-1930,” by the University of Chicago Press in 1989.

Stamper joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1984 and taught architectural history for the sophomore survey and design in the fourth- and fifth-year studios. Third-year architecture students spend the entire academic year studying in Rome, a program Stamper directed from 1990 to 1999.

Stamper’s research on ancient Roman architecture, with a focus on the Arch of Constantine and the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, led to the publication by Cambridge University Press of his 2005 book, “The Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire.”

A popular teacher, Stamper was the recipient of Notre Dame’s Kaneb Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2007, Stamper joined with Notre Dame’s then-President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., to narrate a video explaining the history and artistic elements of “The Word of Life,” the massive mural on the south side of the University’s Hesburgh Library that is also known as “Touchdown Jesus.”

Stamper is survived by his wife, Erika, and their daughter, Alessandra. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clay and Hazel (Tetzloff) Stamper.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 13 (Thursday) at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 14 at Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart.