Don Gillmor, M.A. '50, Ph.D., '61, professor emeritus, died February 14 at Rose of Sharon Manor, Roseville, of complications of Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses. He was 86. Arriving at the University's journalism school in 1965, Gillmor became the nation's foremost expert on ethics and media law, advised the Minnesota Daily (for 30 years), and prepared generations of journalism students -- a number of whom became professors at prestigious universities. He founded the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, with funds provided by Otto Silha, former president and publisher of the Star Tribune. "Don appreciated the significance of the difference between law and ethics -- between what we have a right to do and what's right to do," said Theodore Glasser, former assistant director of the Silha Center, now professor at Stanford University's Department of Communication. "But he also understood why questions of ethics precede questions of law, why what's ethical is a more foundational question than what's legal."
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication has established an endowment to fund the Donald M. Gillmor Memorial Fellowship in Media Ethics and Law, and will match donor contributions dollar-for-dollar.
Chun-Jo "CJ" Liu, longtime professor of Chinese languages and literature, died September 24 in a Minneapolis care facility of congestive heart failure. She was 90. Born in Beijing, she arrived at Minnesota in 1963, and helped the University become one of the first in the nation to reach out to China in 1979, the year communication opened between the two countries. She figured prominently in the creation of the University's East Asian Languages and Literature Library, and the China Center. Liu had previously taught at Vassar College, Stanford University, and the University of British Columbia-Vancouver.
Jochen Schulte-Sasse, emeritus professor in the Department of Cultural Studies andComparative Literature, and the Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch, died December 12 of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare degenerative disease, in Piedmont, Calif., surrounded by members of his family. He was 72. Recognized as one of the world's most influential scholars of German and comparative literature, he helped found the cultural studies and comparative literature department at the University, where he had taught since 1978. The landmark book series, The Theory and History of Literature, which he co-founded and edited, is said to have transformed the intellectual landscape of the late twentieth century. Schulte-Sasse also edited the journal, Cultural Critique, which he was instrumental in moving from the Oxford University Press to the University of Minnesota Press, helping to establish the latter as a premier publisher of literary and cultural theory and intellectual thought. His scholarship engaged him broadly: from considerations of Kant and Hegel, to contemporary politics, to Harlequin romances. He objected to the practice of identifying too closely with any political party, issue, or person, believing it jeopardizes critical, independent thinking, which can be achieved through the study of the humanities, especially language and literature.
- Read an interview with Schulte-Sasse
- Contribute to the Jochen Schulte-Sasse Fellowship in German Studies
Milt "Beaver" Adams, B.A. '50, economics, of Edina, died November 18 of complications of multiple strokes, at 84. He served in the Korean War as lieutenant, worked for some years in the corporate sector. In 1970 he founded Adams & Others, an advertising agency which eventually also produced mini-books and corporate reports. Then, at the age of 70, believing that many good, new authors were "snubbed" by established publishers, he founded Beaver's Pond Press on a mentoring model, providing authors with editing, printing, sales, and marketing support. Among the 700-plus titles are Kramarczuk's Family Classics, The Twins at the Met by Bob Showers, and The Old Log Theater & Me by Don Stolz. In 2007 Adams told the Star Tribune, "I know that Beaver's Pond is my purpose in life. It is what I was meant to do."
Robert Cherry Foy II, Ph.D. '73, English, died May 1, at age 78, of complications from lung disease. He served in the Air Force, taught at the U of M English Department, and then spent the balance of his career teaching at the University of St. Thomas. A Shakespearean scholar, he chaired the English department from 1973 to 1976, and became the school's first director of faculty development. After his wife, Nancy, died in 2002, he began to get tattoos, explaining that "it's a way for [people] to mark on the outside that something has changed inside."
Peter James McKenna, Jr., M.A. '54, psychology, died April 3 in a Bloomington nursing home, at 88. For years, people at Minneapolis City Hall knew him as the "singing blind man" who ran the convenience store in the basement; McKenna had lost his eyes and two fingers to a tank explosion in World War II. He served in Germany in Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army, landing at Normandy, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and in his final battle in Germany. After his injury, he spent two years in the hospital -- and married his nurse. McKenna subsequently completed his bachelor's degree at Catholic University in Washington and master's at the U of M -- with help from reading aides. In addition to running the convenience story, McKenna worked as a benefits counselor at the Fort Snelling VA, and traveled as a member of Friendship Force International, a nonprofit cultural exchange program.