A former member of the Hope College English faculty and her elder son died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Jordan on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004.
Killed were Dr. Susan Atefat Peckham, age 33, and her son Cyrus, age six.
Those injured in the accident included her husband, Dr. Joel B. Peckham Jr., who had also taught English at Hope; the couple's other son, Darius, age three; and her mother.
A Jordanian friend and family tutor was also killed.
Dr. Atefat Peckham had been an assistant professor of English at Hope from 1999 until 2002.
She had work published in several journals through the years. In 2000, her collection of poems "That Kind of Sleep" (Coffee House Press) was one of only five recipients of a prestigious National Poetry Series award.
In January of 2002, Hope named her a Towsley Research Scholar. She and her husband, along with English faculty colleagues Jackie Bartley and Jack Ridl, had presented the seminar "The Sanctuary of Poetry" during the college's Winter Happening event on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002.
Dr. Atefat Peckham joined the faculty of Georgia College and State University after teaching at Hope. She and her husband, who now teaches at Georgia Military College, were spending the spring semester at the University of Jordan as U.S. Fulbright scholars.
Dr. Atefat Peckham was born first-generation American to Iranian parents, and lived most of her life in France and Switzerland, in addition to living in the United States and Iran. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Baylor University in pre-med biology and chemistry in 1991, master of arts in English from Baylor in 1994, and doctorate in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999.