In December of 1988, Professor Edse retired from the Department of German at Ohio State after 38 years of dedicated teaching and service. It was as a visible sign of gratitude, in deep appreciation and friendship for Professor Edse, that her friends and colleagues of the Department and the College of Humanities decided to establish the Ilsedore Edse Fund for support of Undergraduate Students of German. A colleague at the time wrote, "It is so like Ilsedore -- the only gift she would accept from us is one she can give away to others."
Ilsedore Maria Edse was born in Germany in 1918, and after World War II, she came to the United States and earned her bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State. Her 1960 dissertation was entitled: "Das Bild der Heimat bei einigen ostpreussischen Autoren seit der Jahrhundert-Wende".
Indeed, the concept of Heimat, i.e., one's home, must have been on her mind and in her heart as Professor Edse strove to promote a positive image of Germany abroad. In 1980, Josef Deutz, the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Detroit, announced that she would receive the Bundesverdienstkreuz, a medal of honor in recognition of distinguished contributions to international understanding.
Throughout her years at Ohio State, Professor Edse received numerous awards and recognitions for her teaching and service. She was the first woman to win the Teacher of the Year Award of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences Student Council. Other awards include the Distinguished Teaching Award (1963), the Alfred J. Wright Leadership Award (1965), the Ohioana Citation (1984), the Faculty Service Award (1985), and the Distinguished Service Award (1988). The citation of this last award reads: "Ilsedore Edse has taken her mission of education beyond the confines of the classroom. In the last three decades she has brought to thousands enlightenment and entertainment through the German language. Her enthusiasm is contagious, her commitment steadfast, her abilities unparalleled. She has brought an element of foreign culture to the hearts and minds of many, filling an important niche in our societal experience. Over the years she has been commended for her dedication and acknowledged for the enrichment she has provided to a great many individuals."
For Professor Edse, teaching at Ohio State was more than a profession -- it was a vocation which she pursued with passion and pride. She taught German Composition and Conversation, German for Reading Knowledge, 20th-century German Literature, German Drama, Business German, and Intermediate German Language courses. Professor Edse also devoted much of her creative energy to her Radio and Television programs as the host of German language and culture radio shows on WOSU-radio from 1954-1988 and German language television shows on WOSU-TV starting in 1957. In 1980, she also produced a series of Operetta music programs for WOSU-FM. Her colleague, Professor Charles Hoffmann, wrote, "To reach an audience beyond the campus, Ilsedore Edse continued her programs over WOSU-radio and WOSU-TV, and now her fans are legion. Once a year in spring, many of them converge on Columbus from all parts of Ohio to have luncheon or a Kaffeeklatsch with the woman who instructs them by entertaining them."
The Ohio State Library houses 189 audiotape reels of interviews conducted by Professor Edse and broadcast on WOSU-radio. Included are interviews with the Duke of Habsburg; Prince Nicholas Lobkowicz, President of the Catholic University in Eichstätt; Götz von Boehmer, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany; Helmut Schmidt, German Chancellor from 1974-1982; Christa Wolf, contemporary German author; Professor Oskar Seidlin and Professor Dieter Cunz; Dr. Brigitte Seebacher-Brandt; and Dagmar Celeste. In addition, she has published articles on Language Instruction and Media Language Learning.