We are grieved to share with you that the Wartburg community has lost a faculty member this weekend: Dr. Paula Survilla, professor of music, who recently had been diagnosed with a rare and incurable neurological disorder, passed away Saturday evening at her home in Waverly with her family and friends by her side. The Wartburg community extends its condolences to Paula's husband, Dr. Eric Wachmann (professor of music), and sons Anton and Vaalik (a first-year student at Wartburg). Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the family has decided to wait to host a celebration of life for Paula until sometime in the fall. Visit her CaringBridge website for more information and to share a message with her family.
Dr. Survilla was a longtime faculty member at Wartburg, teaching ethnomusicology and many other courses in the Department of Music. Her research interests included the role of contemporary music (urban rock and popular genres as well as rural ritual music) in the construction of personal and national identities in post-Soviet Belarus. As the Harry and Polly Slife Professor in Humanities from 2011 to 2016, Dr. Survilla introduced several initiatives on Wartburg’s campus, including the Hearthside Project, to increase an appreciation of the humanities in contemporary attitudes towards a broad and holistic education. She, along with others in the college's Humanities Think Tank, was a strong advocate for the arts and humanities. Dr. Survilla was also the faculty advisor for the French Club and for Peace and Justice. Since 2008, Dr. Survilla has been the executive director of the Center for Belarusian Studies, an NGO dedicated to encouraging the growth of healthy civil society in Belarus though programs in higher education.
Grief counseling is available for students, faculty and staff; please contact Pastor Brian Beckstrom or Wartburg's Counseling Services.