Joe Voyles retires after nearly 50 years of teaching at the UW!

Submitted by Stephanie N. Welch on

Joe Voyles received his doctoral degree in German Linguistics from the University of  Indiana in 1965.  In the fall of that year he joined  the faculty of the Department of Germanics here at the University of Washington. This was the beginning of  an illustrious career marked by significant contributions to our body of knowledge of the Germanic languages and, more broadly, to the field of Proto-Indo-European linguistics as such.

This brilliance has been recognized as such throughout Joe’s career as witnessed by the fact that he was invited to serve as a guest professor on three different occasions early in his career:


1974-75                       University of California at Berkeley


1981-82                       Fulbright Guest Professor at Albertus Magnus Universität, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Cologne, Germany

Fall semester             Princeton University


This brilliance has been easily masked by another attractive aspect of Joe’s personality:

Joe has an incredible—and not always reverent—sense of humor.

I can attest to all the above because of the lucky coincidence (for me) that I started as a graduate student in Germanic linguistics here at the University of Washington at the same time that Joe started his teaching career here: fall of 1965. I took virtually every linguistic course offered by Joe and know that I speak for both Joe’s students and friends in saying that he is a precious combination of intelligence, good will, and a wicked sense of humor.

Joe will be sorely missed now that his official teaching career has come to an end.

But the good news is that we can still expect fertile brilliance to flow from his pen and wicked humor to flow from his lips to delight us and lighten up our days. C. Barrack