Friends of Lewis & Clark Remembered
November 12, 2015
William “Bill” Iron, retired assistant professor of theatre, died May 12, 2015, at age 89.
Iron spent most of the 1950s and the early 1960s teaching English, speech, and drama in the Reedsport, Silverton, and North Eugene High Schools in Oregon. In 1962, he accepted a job at Lewis & Clark, where he taught theatre and directing until 1970, thus fulfilling an early prediction that he would become a college professor.
After Lewis & Clark, Iron went on to teach and eventually lead the theatre department at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Later, he returned to Oregon, where he completed his career at Willamette University, the majority of that time as chair of the theatre department. He retired in 1991.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Virginia. Survivors include his three children, Sherrideth, Danna, and Patricia; his second wife, Kathy; and stepchildren Jennifer and Gary.
Jill Austin, former registrar of the college, died of cancer on July 17, 2015, at age 68. Austin joined Lewis & Clark in 1969 as a clerk and was quickly promoted. She served 11 years (1970–81) as assistant registrar and nine years (1981–90) as associate registrar; she then became registrar when her mentor and supervisor Robert Wilkin retired. She left the college in 1991.
Austin was a highly respected and much loved member of the campus community. She combined well-honed organizational skills and a talent for detail with an outstanding ability to work constructively with others. She was known and appreciated for her thoughtful, intelligent, and generous spirit. As John Brown, former vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, succinctly puts it, “As a professional Jill was a perfectionist; as a friend, she was a hoot.”
Survivors include her husband, Dick Sorenson, who also worked at Lewis & Clark for many years and served as vice president for administration, as well as their three children and their families.
William Jensen, professor emeritus of business administration, died August 2, 2015, at age 83. Jensen taught at Lewis & Clark from 1971 to 1988. Jensen earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Washington in 1957; an M.S. in accounting and finance from Columbia University in 1959; and a J.D. from the University of California and a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from Oregon State University in 1975.
Jensen was an active scholar whose papers, articles, and monographs included a focus on the fishing industry. Over the years, he served as an advisor to various entities, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and a United Nations and World Health Organization commission on fish and fishery products. After leaving Lewis & Clark, Jensen served as a consultant, doing research and advocacy work for the Oregon fisheries industry and for the Washington Apple Commission.
“Based on our 40-plus years of friendship, I can confidently say that Bill was opinionated, argumentative, and stubborn,” says John Brown, who served as vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty during Jensen’s tenure. “He was also among, if not the most, intelligent, generous, and loyal friend I have had the privilege of enjoying.”
Bill is survived by his wife, Carolyn; three daughters (Sharon, Eloise, and Cindy); seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Vance Savage, professor emeritus of Spanish and an influential leader of international education at Lewis & Clark, died August 4, 2015, in hospice care after a short hospital stay. He was 80. Savage earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Oregon, where he studied Spanish and Romance languages. Prior to completing his Ph.D. in 1969, he worked for the U.S. Information Agency, spending a year in Lima, Peru, as a cultural affairs attaché, then a year in Haiti as the director of the Haitian-American Institute and consul for Northern Haiti. He taught at both the University of Oregon and California State University at Hayward before joining the Lewis & Clark faculty in 1969.
At Lewis & Clark, Savage played a leadership role within the Department of Foreign Languages and in the faculty at large. From 1981 to 1986, he served as associate dean of faculty. During that time, he also served as acting director of international programs, then director of international education. In 1986, he was named dean of international education and reported to the provost. In this capacity, he oversaw Overseas and Off-Campus Programs, International Student Services, and the Institute for the Study of American Languages and Culture (now Academic English Studies), as well as all aspects of international studies in Lewis & Clark’s three schools. In 1991, Savage rejoined the teaching faculty. He retired from the college in 1996.
Dinah Dodds, professor emerita of German, remembers Savage “as one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever known.” She adds, “When I had my interview, he walked me through campus and told me the way to get things done at a place like Lewis & Clark was through interpersonal relationships—it’s advice I never forgot.”
According to former dean Andy Rembert, Savage was an “unusually creative and efficient administrator,” who exercised care and candor in equal measure. Dell Smith, registrar emeritus, says, “The number of faculty and students who have been positively influenced by Vance’s work is far greater than anyone realizes.”
During retirement, Vance and his wife, Jill, lived in La Grande, Oregon, at their “horse ranch”; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and finally in Omaha, Nebraska. Vance took his last ride on his favorite horse, Choco, in 2014.
Mervyn Brockett, retired associate provost, died of a sudden aneurysm at his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on August 26, 2015. He was 68.
Brockett was born in Portsmouth, England, and was raised abroad, mostly in Africa, due to his father’s work with the British Colonial Service. After his early schooling in Kenya, he entered Oxford University, where he completed his baccalaureate degree. He pursued his studies in French and linguistics at Cornell University and earned his doctorate. Later in life, he took a master’s degree in industrial relations at the University of Warwick and pursued a master’s in public relations at the University of Oregon.
Brockett began his career teaching French at the University of British Columbia and later moved into academic administration. After his marriage to Tamara Grimes, an American citizen, he investigated job opportunities in the United States. In 1990, he landed a post at Lewis & Clark, where he worked until his retirement in 2013.
Over his years at the college, Brockett held a wide array of positions, including assistant vice president for academic affairs, vice dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, assistant vice president for planning and budgeting, assistant to the president and secretary of the college, vice president for finance and treasurer, and associate provost. On two occasions, he stepped in to serve as interim registrar of the undergraduate college.
During his 23 years at the college, Brockett played a key role in institutional research, data analysis, planning, and budget projection. Soon after his arrival, he undertook a close examination of how student financial aid was being allocated to undergraduate students. He then worked with the dean of admissions and the director of financial aid to redesign the award strategy in ways that improved the college’s effectiveness at maximizing student quality and diversity. Brockett’s enrollment modeling became the foundation for curricular planning and academic budgeting for two decades.
He also served the college in other ways, including occasional teaching. In fall 2006, Brockett revived his Swahili skills and took a group to East Africa, where he had spent much of his childhood. And in fall 2013, after he had retired, Brockett led the India overseas study program.
“We appreciate Mervyn for all the ways he helped the college to advance,” says Jane Atkinson, vice president and provost of the college. “But even more, we remember him as a gracious, kind, and thoughtful individual, as someone who went out of his way to help and comfort others.”
Survivors include his wife, Tamara; son Neil Brockett B.A. ’15; and stepchildren Nina Buccola and Eric Dunphy.