Friends of Lewis & Clark Remembered

Ambassador Edward J. Perkins CAS ’56, life trustee of the college who started his college education at Lewis & Clark, died November 7, 2020, at age 92.

A veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, Perkins began his diplomatic career as the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, appointed in 1985. The following year, Perkins was appointed U.S. ambassador to South Africa. It was a challenging post, made when apartheid was still the law in South Africa. Despite the disrespect Perkins received from South Africa’s leaders, he worked to maintain a peaceful relationship between the countries and even played a role in the dismantling of apartheid. He met with both Black and white South Africans, sometimes arranging to bring them together at his receptions despite the country’s official segregation policy.

Perkins held the position for three years before being appointed the first Black director general of the Foreign Service, where he worked to recruit more minorities and people with disabilities to U.S. diplomatic ranks. In later years, he served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as U.S. ambassador to Australia.

In 1996, Perkins retired from the foreign service with the rank of career minister. He subsequently went to the University of Oklahoma, where he spent 13 years as the William J. Crowe Chair and executive director of the International Programs Center.

Over the course of his long career, Perkins received numerous honors, including the 2020 American Foreign Service Association’s Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award.

Perkins was Lewis & Clark’s commencement speaker in 1988. The college awarded him its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992. In fall 2020, Lewis & Clark established the Ambassador Edward J. Perkins Speaker Series Fund in recognition of his remarkable career. (Read more information about the fund).

Gersham Goldstein, life trustee of Lewis & Clark, died August 6, 2020, at age 81. Goldstein was a prominent Portland tax lawyer and an active member of the Jewish community. He and his family moved to Portland in 1977, after his 11-year career as a professor of law at the University of Cincinnati. He became a partner with the law firm Davies Biggs, which later became Stoel Rives. Goldstein served on Lewis & Clark’s Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2002.

James Holton, associate professor of political science and archives director, died December 27, 2020, at age 90, of natural causes. Holton was a beloved faculty member to numerous students and colleagues who were big fans of his wry humor, quick wit, and championing the cause of the ordinary citizen.

Holton attended Tulane and Louisiana State University, receiving a degree in political science in 1955. He did graduate work at Michigan State University and the University of Chicago, where among his duties he transcribed the taped lectures of political philosopher Leo Strauss. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London School of Economics.

After teaching at Washington State University, Holton joined Lewis & Clark in 1967 as an associate professor of political science. He eventually left the political science department but returned to L&C to serve as archives director until his retirement in 1991. Holton led more than a dozen Washington, D.C., study programs for Lewis & Clark students, introducing them to “how the sausage gets made.” He is remembered as a thorough, insightful, demanding teacher. Many of his students were inspired to seek careers in public service.

Jeffrey Jones, associate professor of law and philosophy, died December 25, 2020, at age 52. Jones taught employment law, disability law, property law, property transactions, and a number of jurisprudence courses. He also taught a course on law and social justice in Lewis & Clark College’s Department of Philosophy. Recently, Jones became interested in new media and launched the podcast and blog space Legalcide.

Student Bar Association president Amanda Pham Haines wrote this about Jones: “There are some people in life that shine so brightly, they illuminate the best in the people around them. Professor Jeffrey Jones was that person. Professor Jones treated us, and our ideas, with respect and genuine curiosity. He encouraged innovative thinking and creativity in the classroom and out of it. His laugh will echo through our memories and through the lasting impression he made on Lewis & Clark.” Jones earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and completed postdoctoral studies at Boston University’s School of Law and BU’s then Institute on Race and Social Division. He received his JD from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Sunil Kumar, renowned historian and former head of medieval Indian history at Delhi University, died January 15, 2021. He had recently been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Kumar served for many years as the lead instructor of Lewis & Clark’s overseas study program in India. In this role, he regularly lectured and gave tours of the great historical sites of Delhi.

“Among L&C students from about 2000 on, Sunil had a commanding presence in their academic and personal lives—just as he did among faculty leaders,” remembers Dell Smith, registrar emeritus, L&C overseas program leader, and friend. David Campion, Pamplin Associate Professor of History, adds that Kumar was a distinguished visiting scholar at universities around the world. “His research and insights changed the way historians view the early centuries of Indo-Islamic civilization.”

Kumar is survived by his wife Anjali, daughter Shefali, and son Sikandar. His sister, Nita, is also a scholar and L&C instructor in Delhi.

Herschel Snodgrass, professor emeritus of physics, died peacefully at home on November 24, 2020, at age 83.

His children, Carl BA ’06 and Emma, wrote a tribute to their father excerpted here: Dad was so many things. He was an astrophysicist, a cosmologist, a professor, a big brother and eldest uncle, a father (to his children and many others), a self-identified mother, a hippie, a dreamer, a pianist, a clarinetist, a little boy (no matter how old) obsessed with steam trains, a poet, a staunch environmentalist and conservationist, a student of human nature and the universe, an artist, a magical storyteller, an unforgettable dancer, a world traveler (with a special love for Greece and Australia and, in later years and with increasing affection, Sweden), an amateur rock and mountain climber, a cat magnet, a pirate, mayor of the Ugly Mug, a master pumpkin pie chef; for several questionable years he was even Dr. Evil.

He dreamed forever of finishing his cosmology masterwork, Beyond the Realm of the Senses; he was a world expert on solar flares and sunspot cycles, and through his research he discovered that a long cycle of low sunspot activity has been artificially dampening the effects of climate change, belying the need for urgent action, which he fiercely advocated.

Perhaps more than anything else, he was a lover. He loved the people in his life so dearly… . He loved teaching and reveling in models of the universe with students who shared his awe and wonder for the profound mysteries of space. Snodgrass earned his undergraduate degree from Reed College.

He later pursued graduate work in physics, first at the University of Maryland and then at the University of California at Berkeley. In the late 1980s, he moved back to Oregon to teach at Reed. It wasn’t long before John Abele and Bob Martin, then faculty members in L&C’s physics department, offered Snodgrass a position. He ended up teaching 30 years at Lewis & Clark, influencing several generations of students.

Hester Turner, who served in many leadership roles at Lewis & Clark during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, died October 19, 2020, at age 103. In 1939, Hester married pilot instructor William Turner. She later enrolled in law school and was the only woman in her class; she earned her law degree from the University of Arizona in 1946. With two sons in tow, the young family settled in Portland. Turner then gave birth to twin daughters. Their blindness at birth, caused by a medical accident, resulted in Turner’s passion for disability rights. She went on to raise her four children as a single mother.

Turner began her career at the college in 1947, when President Morgan Odell appointed her assistant professor of health and physical education. She left L&C in 1959 but returned in 1961 to become dean of women. From 1962 to 1966, Turner served as dean of students at Lewis & Clark, an unusual post for a woman at that time. In 1966, she left Lewis & Clark to serve as national executive director of the Camp Fire Girls, where she provided leadership through 1979. Later, she practiced law and worked as a management consultant.

Turner took great pride in having met every Lewis & Clark president who has served on Palatine Hill, including current president Wim Wiewel. “I had a wonderful time at Lewis & Clark,” she told the Chronicle on the occasion of her 100th birthday. The Lewis & Clark Alumni Association honored her with the Don Balmer Citation, which is awarded to individuals who have rendered outstanding voluntary service to the college, in 1989. Survivors include her two sons, Bill and John; twin daughters, Jane and Mary Lee; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.