Click for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Forecast


Print This Issue
Front Page
All About Teaching
Subscribe to E-Alamanc!



Mr. Freedman, Former Law Dean

James Freedman

Mr. James O. Freedman, former dean of the Law School, died March 21 at his home in Cambridge, MA. He was 70.

Mr. Freedman earned an A.B. in 1957 from Harvard University and a LL.B. in 1962 from Yale University.

Mr. Freedman, the last of the Law School’s short-term deans of the 1970s and the first dean to claim fundraising as a major interest, began his teaching career at Penn Law in 1964 as an assistant professor after working as a law clerk for U.S. 2nd Circuit Court judge (later Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall. He served Penn as both associate provost (1978) and ombudsman (1973-76)—a new office that he did much to define—and taught administrative law. His service as dean started January 1, 1979 and ended in 1982 when he was appointed president of the University of Iowa (1982-87). Later, he became president of Dartmouth College (1987-97).

Mr. Freedman viewed his appointment as dean of the Law School, as a way to bring interdisciplinary interests in the arts and sciences into the School. From the beginning, he expressed special interest in both fundraising and the Biddle Library, and he became perhaps the first dean to successfully rouse both the alumni and the board of overseers into beginning an active rejuvenation of the Biddle Library. At the University level, he was credited with giving form to the new office of ombudsman to ease tensions among the various factions on campus.

Mr. Freedman’s scholarly interests were administrative law and higher education. He authored the books Crisis and Legitimacy: The Administrative Process and American Government, Idealism and Liberal Education, and Liberal Education and the Public Interest. He was involved in many educational and professional organizations. Mr. Freeman was chairman of the Pennsylvania Reapportionment Commission and served on Philadelphia’s Board of Ethics. At the time of his death, he was on the Board of Trustees for Brandeis University, the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee and of Hebrew Union College.

“Jim Freedman was one of the leading lights of academic administration over the past 20 years. In whatever role he was serving, whether it was as Dean of Penn Law or President of Dartmouth College, he was always a passionate advocate for the fundamental values of a liberal education. He will also be remembered here at Penn Law as a distinguished scholar of administrative law, as an incisive teacher, and, perhaps most importantly, as simply a fine human being, ” said Law Dean Michael Fitts.

Mr. Freedman is survived by his wife, Bathsheba; daughter, Deborah; son, Jared; and grandchildren, Isaac, Jacob, Sasha and Noah.

Donations can be made to the Oncology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, c/o: Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114 or American Jewish Committee, The Jacob Blaustein Building, 165 E. 56th. St., New York, NY 10022.

Dr. Palmer, Classical Studies

Robert Palmer

Dr. Robert E. A. Palmer, professor emeritus of classical studies, died on March 11, at his home in Haverford. He was 73.

 Dr. Palmer earned both his B.A. in 1953 and his Ph.D. in 1956 from Johns Hopkins University.

Before coming to Penn, Dr. Palmer taught at the University of Illinois. He began his career at Penn in 1961 as an assistant professor of classical studies. He was promoted to associate professor in 1966, and to professor in 1970; he retired in 1996. During his time at Penn, he served as graduate chair in ancient history (1966-67) and in classical studies (1968-72) and as chair of the department of classical studies (1973-80).

Dr. Palmer was an historian of ancient Rome, with particular interests in Roman religion and epigraphy. He was the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Archaic Community of the Romans (1970), Roman Religion and Roman Empire (1974), and Rome and Carthage at Peace (1997). His most enduring and engaging research interest was the history of the city of Rome itself, with a special focus on its local neighborhoods. 

Dr. Palmer is survived by his daughter-in-law, Sonya Zabludoff; his grandchildren, Sofia and Julian; and sister, Vicki Peterson.

The department of classical studies will hold a memorial service for Dr. Palmer in the fall.

Dr. Root, Medicine

Richard Root

Dr. Richard K. Root, former associate professor of medicine, was killed on March 19 when a crocodile pulled him from his canoe while on a tour of the Limpopo River in Botswana. He was 68.

Dr. Root was on two-month assignment as part of the Penn Medicine Program in Botswana, to teach doctors in Botswana how to care for HIV patients.

He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1959 and earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1963.

Dr. Root came to Penn in 1971 as assistant professor of medicine, to form the infectious disease division of the department of medicine along with Dr. Rob MacGregor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1973 and then resigned two years later.

Dr. Root has also served as the chairman of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, a senior investigator at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and was chief of the department of infectious diseases at Yale University’s School of Medicine.

Dr. Root is survived by his wife, Rita O’Boyle; sons, Richard, David, and Daniel; sister, Carole Neubauer; and eight grandchildren.

Dr. van de Walle, Populations Studies Center

Etienne van de Walle

Dr. Etienne van de Walle, professor emeritus of demography and professor of sociology, died March 21. He was 73 years old.

Dr. van de Walle was born in Belgium and educated at the University of Louvain, where he received a doctorate in lawin 1956, a M.A. in economics in 1957, and a Ph.D. in demography in 1973. Before coming to Penn, he was a field researcher in Central Africa. He left Africa in 1961 and moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where he spent a decade as a researcher at the Office of Population Research, at Princeton University. He was a co-author, with William Brass and others, in 1968, of The Demography of Tropical Africa, a path-breaking book on a topic about which little was known at the time. So too is The Female Population of France in the Nineteenth Century, which he published in 1974.

Dr. van de Walle came to Penn in 1972 as professor of sociology where he spent his academic career, as a mainstay of the Population Studies Center, which he directed from 1976 to 1982. He was for many years chair of the graduate group in demography. He was elected First Vice-President of the Population Association of America in 1988 and, in 1992, was elected President.

“Although Dr. van de Walle left Africa in 1961, the continent never really left him. He continued to do research on sub-Saharan Africa for the next 45 years. He was fascinated by changes in African families—in living patterns, in marriage customs, and in fertility. Dr. van de Walle was dedicated to the training of African scholars. For 15 years he directed Penn’s African Demography Training and Research program, and was an advisor to foundations and non-governmental organizations interested in Africa’s population and the training of Africans who would be able to study the issue on their own terms,” said Dr. Herbert Smith, professor of sociology and director of the Population Studies Center.

Dr. van de Walle retired in 2001, but continued writing papers on the history of contraception, analyzing African census data, working with students, and editing the English-language edition of the French journal, Population

Dr. van de Walle is survived by his wife, Francine; daughters,  Dominique, C ’78 and Patrice, C ’82, G ’83, G ’89, WG ’89; sons, Nicholas, C ’79 and Jean François, C ’80, G ’86,WG ’86; and granddaughter, Nadia, C ’08.


To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136  or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 27, March 28, 2006


March 28, 2006
Volume 52 Number 27


top of page
Back to Contents page