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Obituaries | The University Record Online

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Week of June 10, 2013


Bryan Rogers, former dean of Art & Design, dies at age 72

Submitted by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Bryan Rogers, professor and former dean of what is now the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, died May 28 at home, after a lengthy illness and in the care of his wife, Cynthi, and son, Kyle. He was 72.

Born in Texas, Rogers graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. He also received a Master of Science, Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966, 1969 and 1971, respectively.

“The engaging learning that students experience in the Stamps School of Art & Design is due to the vision and leadership of Bryan Rogers. His belief in a program that is global, creative and connected led to dramatic changes that advanced the Stamps School. We will miss his gentle spirit, and will continue to benefit from his important work as a scholar, dean and leader,” said President Mary Sue Coleman.

Prior to coming to U-M, Rogers held positions at UC-Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Carnegie Mellon University. Both a practicing artist and a writer, he published and exhibited his work nationally and internationally.

Rogers was appointed dean of what was then the School of Art & Design (now the Stamps School) in 2000, after leading the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon. He stepped down June 30, 2012, and was the school’s longest-serving dean.

His vision for the school was threefold:

• To make the arts part of the intellectual DNA of the wide-ranging domains that comprise U-M.

• To connect A&D students and faculty with their creative pursuits and the wider world through interdisciplinary collaborations, regional outreach programs and global learning exchanges.

• To send into the world well-rounded individuals with technical and conceptual skills, creative confidence, a capacity for continuing self-education, an appreciation for other cultures and perspectives, a well-honed critical intelligence and an abiding passion for engagement with their communities and their world.

“For those who worked closely with Bryan, he is remembered most for his wry and often wicked sense of humor, his grace and devoted friendship, his love of music and reading and the many acts of kindness that he performed without an expectation of thanks or recognition,” said current Stamps School Dean Gunalan Nadarajan.

“I will always remember fondly and with deep appreciation the generosity of spirit and support he extended me as I transitioned into my position as dean at the school. Bryan has left both a professional and human legacy that we can all aspire to.”

Rogers’ vision has led the way in transforming art-design education at American universities and in championing the critical role of creativity in education.

Rogers’ successes in achieving his vision include:

• An endowment for the school that ensures a bright future for the visual arts on campus.

• A curriculum that encourages thoughtful, creative, interdisciplinary problem-making and problem-solving.

• A tenured and tenure-track faculty that doubled in size during his tenure and reflects the range of contemporary creative practice.

• Expanded and improved facilities including private studio space for faculty, graduate students and seniors.

• Thriving national and international engagement programs that move art-design out of the classroom and into the local and global communities.

• A dedicated and professional staff capable of supporting ambitious programs and services.

• A hard-won recognition of the importance of art and design on campus, including the founding of ArtsEngine.

A celebration of Rogers’ life will take place at a later date, and information will be shared as soon as it is available. Until then, cards and notes for the family may be sent to the Stamps School Dean’s Office, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

Beloved doctor, medical educator dies following car crash

By Kara Gavin, UMHS Public Relations

Dr. Steven E. Gradwohl, known as a “physician’s physician” devoted to high-quality patient care and training future physicians, died May 18 after an automobile crash on I-94 at Zeeb Road west of Ann Arbor.

Gradwohl, 51, who had been on the Medical School faculty since 1994, was a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine and practiced general internal medicine at the Briarwood Medical Group. An investigation of the crash is underway.

“Steve was not only a very caring and outstanding clinician, he was also a dear friend to many of us in the department and across the university,” said Dr. John Carethers, chair of internal medicine.

Dr. Laurence McMahon, chief of the General Medicine division, noted, “With a ready smile, full of energy and always willing to help, he will truly be missed. His devotion to his patients and friends was only exceeded by that to his family.”

Gradwohl is survived by his wife, Lisa Mann, and their two daughters, Alexandra and Kelsey.

A graduate of Carleton College and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, Gradwohl had been named by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America several times.

He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served on active duty while in medical residency at the Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, and in medical leadership posts at Fort Lee in Virginia and the Presidio in San Francisco. He came to Michigan in 1994, attracted by the opportunity to take part in medical education in an outpatient setting.

“He was an outstanding teacher of his colleagues, our resident physicians, and medical students,” said Dr. Thomas O’Connor, medical director of the Briarwood Medical Group. “Steve was an outstanding physician devoted to his patients from the day he first joined us.”

Said Dr. James O. Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School, “Steve was a wonderful colleague, friend and one of our finest physicians. From his dedicated, empathic and compassionate care for his patients, to his ready availability and willingness to assist colleagues, to his commitment to the education of the next generation of physicians, everyone who came to know Steve was better for it. We will all miss his warmth, humor and intellect. May his family find comfort in knowing how much he was respected and admired by his friends and colleagues at U-M.”

Gradwohl won the Medical School’s Outstanding Clinician Award in 2012, and was cited for excellence in teaching outpatient medicine, and for serving as the internist to many patients with complex medical conditions. He volunteered regularly at the health clinic run by U-M physicians at the Ann Arbor Shelter Association’s homeless shelter, and served on a universitywide committee on employee health and wellness.

“To lose any of our dedicated clinicians in such a way is a tragedy, but our loss is compounded by the fact that Steve played such a key role in our academic medical center,” said Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, CEO of the U-M Health System. “Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family.”

Gradwohl was a member of the Executive Committee on Clinical Affairs, a team of top clinicians from across the U-M Faculty Group Practice who advise top leadership on many clinical topics and credentialing of physicians. An advocate and teacher of evidence-based medicine, he led the development of, and co-authored, a key guideline for the treatment of urinary tract infections and a self-study online course for physicians and other health care providers anywhere.

During his military service, Gradwohl earned the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Physician Recognition Award, two Meritorious Service medals and two Army Commendation medals. He was chosen as an inaugural member of the Clinical Excellence Society, an honor bestowed on few of U-M’s hundreds of internal medicine physicians.

Memorial donations, to endow the Steven E. Gradwohl “Art of Primary Care” Award and Lectureship Fund will be accepted online at giving.umich.edu/gradwohl.

Richard L. Sears

Submitted by Robin A. S. Haynes

Richard L. Sears, professor emeritus of the School of Art and Design, died May 25.

Born and raised in the small towns of the high desert of southern rural California, “Dick” grew up expecting life to be framed by mountains. The only child of Mildred and Harold Sears, the dreamy boy drew sailing ships and World War I-era airplanes, far beyond his experience, but not his imagination.

After service in Africa and Europe during World War II, Sears received an education thanks to the GI Bill. After graduate work at the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Berkeley, he came to the Midwest as an instructor in drawing and painting at U-M in 1953.

He retired in 1989 as a full professor in the Department of Art and Design from the same institution. Sears focused on what mattered most to him — teaching students to see better, while trying to increase his own ability to perceive the spatial compositions of his environment in paint, pencil, sculpture and photography. Thousands of students benefited from his encouragement, corrections and reminders to measure, all delivered in a sneakily relaxed manner.

Upon retirement, Sears moved to Maine and returned to his real work of full-time seeing, painting and drawing, particularly enjoying the trees and rocks of Maine. Sears exhibited from Maine to California, often more appreciated by the eyes of other artists than by the public at large. His last show, which was in Bath, Maine, during the fall of 2012, contained numerous examples of his joyous and colorful works, particularly watercolors of recent years.

Sears is survived by his wife Robin A. S. Haynes of Bath, his daughters Anne L. Sears and Alison de los Santos, both of Kalamazoo, son-in-law Robert Mata de los Santos, and the family of close friends and former students who treasured him.

His memory is best honored, family members say, by remembering the ideas he taught and looking daily at the beauty of a loved one’s face, the fascinating and shifting movements of the open sky, and the simple lines and intricacies of all landscapes — none of which, like Sears, is ever only ordinary.

Albert Feuerwerker

Submitted by Ernest P. Young, professor emeritus of history, LSA

Albert Feuerwerker, who enjoyed a long and active career at U-M and who fashioned a distinguished legacy as a scholar of Chinese history, died April 27.

Born in 1927, he was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied at Harvard University, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in history, magnum cum laude, in 1950 and his Ph.D. in history and Far Eastern languages in 1957. He was a lecturer at the University of Toronto (1955-58) and a research fellow at Harvard (1958-60), and then came to U-M in 1959, where he spent the remainder of his career. He became professor emeritus in 1996.

At U-M, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Center for Chinese Studies. He served as its first director, 1961-67, and again from 1972 to 1983. He applied his leadership to making U-M one of the major centers in the country for Chinese studies and for Asian studies more broadly. He secured grants, facilitated the creation of new positions in other departments, helped to recruit faculty, supported the growth of the Asia Library, and negotiated a secure place for Asian studies among the university’s commitments. He was chair of the Department of History from 1984 to 1987 and served on several important university committees.

His professional activities outside the university were extensive. Among them was the presidency of the Association for Asian Studies, 1991-92. He served on various national committees over the years, sometimes as chair or co-chair, including the SSRC-ACLS Joint Committee on Contemporary China, the SSRC Subcommittee on Research on the Chinese Economy, the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China (of the National Academy of Sciences), the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and the SSRC Committee on Exchanges with Asian Institutions. He served on the editorial boards of several major academic journals.

The main focus in his scholarly publications was on the Chinese economy in the 19th and 20th centuries, although he often ventured productively into other areas. He set a base-line for discussions of the role of the Qing state in modern economic development with his monograph, China’s Early Industrialization: Sheng Hsuan-huai (1844-1916) and Mandarin Enterprise (Harvard, 1958). His 1970 article, “Handicraft and Manufactured Cotton Textiles in China, 1871-1910,” was immediately the standard for research and argument about economic change in that period. He wrote general treatments of modern Chinese economic history that became the starting point for any further work and staples for graduate training in modern Chinese history. He also published lucid short books on 18th-century China, on rebellion in the 19th century and the foreign presence in the early 20th century. His publications pioneered the introduction to a Western audience of the scholarship of the People’s Republic of China. He edited several important collections of academic work on China, and was a co-editor of one of the volumes of The Cambridge History of China, a series in which his articles appeared more than once.

Feuerwerker’s contributions to both U-M and his field of scholarship have been enormous. He was a formidable figure in the arenas of his endeavors, colleagues say, adding that those who knew him will also miss him as a friend and colleague.

He is survived by his wife, Yi-tsi, and his children, Alison and Paul.

Robert F. Berkhofer Jr.

Submitted by Diane Owen Hughes, associate professor of history, LSA

Born in New Jersey, Robert F. Berkhofer Jr. died on the other side of America in California; but he was reared and educated in upstate New York and taught for most of his life in the Midwest.

With a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Albany (1953) and a Ph.D. from Cornell University (1960), he taught at Ohio State University (1959-60), the University of Minnesota (1960-69), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1979-73) before accepting a professorship in the Department of History at U-M in 1973. Berkhofer was director of the U-M Department of American Culture from 1978-84, during which time he was elected to the national presidency of American Studies Association, serving for 1980-81. Throughout his career and these many moves, Berkhofer battled the disabling effects of childhood polio, aided by the support and stimulus of his late wife Genevieve (Zito), herself an American historian who, as a young woman, suffered lasting and serious injuries. So more remarkable was the mark they made. The wide range of friends who knew them during their years in Ann Arbor enjoyed their generous hospitality, lively conversation and pertinent gossip.

Ann Arbor also provided, in many respects, the fulcrum of Berkhofer’s historical development. The book that brought him a wide audience and reputation as a writer of critical history was the landmark “The White Man’s Indian” (Knopf, 1979), described when it first appeared as a “revelatory study of the absolute, seemingly ineradicable pervasiveness of white racism … (that) penetrates to the very heart of our understanding of ourselves.” Although at first glance different from what was to follow, this book showed a clear and unblinking insight into the biases that underlay and undermined historical discourse.

That insight led to “Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse” (Harvard, 1995), a theoretical work finally shaped in the critical environment of the University of California — Santa Cruz, where Berkhofer served as professor after retiring from Michigan in 1991. Colleaugues who heard its early stages as papers and discussions recognized that Berkhofer was mastering and rethinking the “Novissimum Organum” of postmodern historical analysis; and wide scholarly reception paid tribute to its theoretical and practical importance. Both this book and his last, “Fashioning History: Current Practices and Principles” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), elaborate his goal of enabling historians to “authorize new forms of representation.” Berkhofer chose to dedicate each of these books to his son Robert F. Berkhofer III, a medievalist; and his daughter-in-law Sally E. Haddan, a colonial Americanist — currently members of the Department of History at Western Michigan University.


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