The University of Chicago Magazine

October 1997



Faculty, Staff and Friends



Mark Ashin, AB'37, AM'38, PhD'50, a professor emeritus of English and retired secretary of the faculties, died September 6 at the U of C Hospitals. He was 80. Ashin, whose scholarly interests included Shakespeare and 17th-century comedy, taught composition and the humanities, also mentoring younger professors on teaching students to write. He joined the U of C faculty in 1942, served in WWII, and resumed teaching in 1946. A 1954 Quantrell winner for undergraduate teaching, Ashin was named a professor in 1967 and served as secretary of the faculties from 1980 until his 1992 retirement. Ashin's family has established a memorial fund in his name to support teaching in the College. Survivors include his wife, Alice, and a son.

Andrew J. Brislen, SB'31, MD'36, a retired physician and former adjunct professor in the medical school, died June 11 at age 88. He was also a former president of the Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois medical societies. During WWII, he served as a U.S. Army Air Forces medic in a unit that developed the idea of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). He is survived by a daughter, five sons, a brother, and 10 grandchildren.

François Furet, a professor in the College, the Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner distinguished service professor in the Committee on Social Thought, and a world-renowned expert on the French revolution, died July 12 in Toulouse, France, from head injuries suffered in a fall. A resident of Paris and Chicago, he was 70. Furet joined the faculty in 1985, taught during the autumn quarter each year, and served for a time as chair of the Committee on Social Thought. A former director of studies at L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in France, he wrote many influential works, including The French Revolution, Marx and the French Revolution, and The History of an Illusion: An Essay on the Communist Idea in the Twentieth Century. In March, Furet was elected a member of the Académie Française. He is survived by his wife, Deborah; a son; and a daughter.

Charles M. Hardin, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of California at Davis, and a U of C faculty member from 1945 to 1960, died June 28 in San Francisco. He was 88. Hardin, who served in the Department of Agriculture in the late 1940s, left the U of C to become a program director at the Rockefeller Foundation, for which he traveled extensively in South America and Asia, developing agricultural programs. A constitutional scholar, he cofounded the 1981 bipartisan Committee on the Constitutional System, composed of Cabinet officers, White House aides, members of Congress, labor leaders, lawyers, and scholars. His books include Presidential Power and Accountability. Survivors include his wife, Sallie; a daughter; and two grandchildren.

Maria Weigl Piers, founding dean of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development in Chicago, died May 21 in Chicago. She was 86. An authority on psychosocial development in childhood, she taught at the Chicago Medical School, the University of Illinois, and the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis, as well as the U of C. A pioneer in the use of television and radio to educate parents, she developed, wrote, and hosted several public television programs, also hosting a daily National Public Radio program in the early 1970s. The author of Growing Up with Children, she cowrote Wages of Neglect with Robert Coles and The Gift of Play with G. M. Landau. Survivors include a son, Matthew J. Piers, U-High'68, JD'74; a daughter, Margaret Piers Vander Ploeg, U-High'61; and four grandchildren.

Herman G. Richey, AM'27, PhD'30, a retired professor in education, died July 3 in State College, PA. He was 99. Richey served the U of C's education department as instructor, professor, secretary, librarian, and dean of students before retiring as dean of students in the Graduate School of Education in 1965. In 1947, he coauthored the classic history of education, The School and the Social Order. Survivors include his wife, Marie; a son, Herman G. Richey, Jr., AB'52; and three grandchildren.


Gordon Bernard Olson, of Homewood, IL, a retired assistant superintendent of buildings and grounds, died July 27 at age 88. Olson's 42 years of service at the University included work with the Manhattan Project and the campus transition from gas heat to coal. He is survived by a daughter, a son, two sisters, and six grandchildren.


Ruth S. Nath, a member of the Women's Board of the University, died June 20 at age 91. In the 1950s, she and two friends owned and operated the Chestnut Court Book Shop in Highland Park, IL. Nath supported the arts in Chicago as well as the University. Survivors include two daughters and six grandchildren.


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