P-CON Founder Dead at 97

On Thursday, December 30, former Colgate geography profes­sor and founder of the university’s Peace and Conflict Studies Pro­gram, Theodore Herman died at the age of 97 at Cornwall Manor in Pennsylvania.

Professor Herman was born in Philadelphia on March 11, 1913. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, where he became a Quaker. After graduating, he took a position as a teacher at the Shanghai American School in China. Herman spent the duration of World War II in China, where he married his wife Ev­elyn twice: once before the Japanese invasion of China and then again in 1948 after it was discovered that their marriage records were destroyed during the war.

Herman was an active member of the peaceful resistance movement against the Japanese during the war and was briefly interned by the Japa­nese in 1942-1943 in the Haiphong Road Camp in Shanghai.

In 1944, Herman was forced to leave China and his wife behind and returned to the United States. Before long, however, he returned to both through his work for the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Ad­ministration. In 1948, the adminis­tration was closed and he returned to the United States with his wife.

He joined the Colgate faculty in 1955 as a professor of geogra­phy until his retirement in 1980. Focusing on cultural geography, Herman led multiple anti-war workshops in the 1960s. He be­came the founder and director of Colgate’s Peace and Conflict Stud­ies Program (P-CON), which at that time was known as the Peace and World Order Studies Program.

Even after his retirement in 1980, Herman remained an active member of the Colgate community. He con­tinued to contribute to the P-CON department after his retirement and played a key role in developing Col­gate’s Fund for Peace Research, which funds Colgate students’ summer in­ternships supporting peace building non-governmental organizations.

In 2008-2009, Herman was honored in a special exhibition entitled “A Year of Chinese Art at Colgate University,” for his gen­erosity and service to the univer­sity. Funding for the exhibit was supported by Robert H.N. Ho ’56, a former student and close friend of Herman’s.

Visiting campus for the last time in 2007, Herman was present for the dedication of the Ho Science Cen­ter and he was able to view the new geography department that he had been instrumental in constructing.

Associate Professor of Anthro­pology and Peace & Conflict Stud­ies Nancy Ries remembered Her­man’s frequent returns to Colgate after his retirement fondly.

“After he retired, Ted Herman came up several times to visit his old friends and colleagues at Col­gate in the 1990s and early 2000s,” Ries said.

“He brought several friends from Quaker meetings and from his time in Yugoslavia to speak in Peace Studies about the wars in the Balkans, he came to share his peacemaking work with students at Bunche House, and to have a simple meal with us there. Ted had a droll sense of humor; you never quite knew if he was teasing you or not, but his wit was always warm at bottom, and his aim was always political – even in his teasing, he was always spurring everyone around him to educate themselves and others about global injustice and war. Those were his highest priorities, and he always inspired us to keep working and teaching against violence.”

Herman is survived by his daughter Evelyn, his nephew Wal­ter Liang and his niece Mag Sea­man. He was predeceased by his wife and his son, Carl.

A memorial service on campus in honor of Professor Herman is planned for this spring. The Maroon-News will provide more details as they become available.