Oct. 14, 2005--The following tribute was presented by James K. Oliver, Emma Smith Morris Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science and International Relations, at the General Faculty Meeting on Oct. 10.
A. Leroy Lee Bennett, 90, professor emeritus of political science and international relations, died from complications of pneumonia Nov. 9, 2004.
Prof. Bennett taught at the University of Delaware from 1962 until his retirement in 1991 and continued his research and publication activity to the very end of his life publishing the seventh edition of his widely used International Organizations: Principles and Issues in 2002.
Prof. Bennett was born in Golden, Ill., July 4, 1914, earning his bachelors degree at Western Illinois State University and his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois. He was in the United States Navy during World War II serving on the staff of the Officers Training School and Midshipmens School at Fr. Schuyler, NY.
After the war he began his academic career at Michigan State University where he was an assistant professor from 1946-1948. In 1951-52 he was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship and spent the academic year as an observer at the United Nations. He served as professor and department head at Drake University from 1954-1962.
Prof. Bennett came to the University of Delaware in 1962 as chairperson of the political science department and served in that capacity until the late 1960s. Serving as chair during the difficult early Vietnam years, he successfully laid the foundation for the rapid growth and transformation of the department in the 1970s and 1980s. During these latter years, he served as coordinator of the Universitys interdepartmental international relations program.
Throughout his years at the University, Prof. Bennett stood as the epitome of the senior teaching scholar whose calm patience and forbearance, gentle humanity, and commitment to the classroom drew both students and his younger colleagues to him for mentoring. His class and seminar rooms were not marked by the flash of a hot professor, but his undergraduate and graduate offerings in international organization, U.S. foreign policy and world politics never lacked for students for his pedagogy was marked by a fairness and seriousness of discourse that was understood as true excellence-in-teaching and for which he was formally recognized by the University.
These same qualities led by the community outside the University of Delaware to seek his advice and leadership as well. Here Prof. Bennett responded by assuming a position on the Board of the Delaware Division of the United Nations Association. He also served as one of the founding members of the World Affairs Council in Wilmington, Del., where he served on the board of directors throughout his years at the University and afterwards. Under his leadership and direction, the Council and the department co-sponsored an annual lecture series at the University that brought major academic figures and policy makers to campus. The series continues and remains the major forum for the discussion of the world affairs in the state. Indeed, the series constitutes a monument to Lee and his conviction that democracy and democratic citizenship in our time must be predicted on a sustained conversation between scholars, officials in government, international and nongovernmental organizations, and the people.
Within the profession, Prof. Bennett was an active member of the American Political Science and International Studies Associations and seldom missed an annual convention of either association. Younger colleagues could count on his guidance as they prepared for and his supportive presence in the audience of their panel presentations. He was especially committed to he development of ISA and was extremely active in the early years of the Northeast regional group within ISA. Fittingly, one of the Northeast Associations graduate prizes is named for Lee Bennett.
Throughout most of his career at the University of Delaware and even before, teaching as well as departmental, university, and public service were the hallmarks of his professional life. There were articles and book reviews as well, but as Bennett approached the end of his career, it became clear that this gentle man always so generous with his time and wisdom had long been crafting a text that would assume a position of influence and importance in the lives of students in the United States and elsewhere for the last 15 or more years. In 1998, less than three years before his retirement, Bennett brought out the first of what would become, by 2002, seven editions of International Organizations: Principles and Issues. Four years after retiring, he published his Historical Dictionary of the United Nations in 1995, but throughout his last years, work on the successive editions of International Organizations, remained the centerpiece of a sustained and rich intellectual an professional life from which he never really retired.
Until the very end of his life, Lee Bennett was a supportive presence in the life of the department, regularly attending faculty seminars, public presentations, and other departmental functions, especially the naming of the Bennett Scholars each spring, the departments outstanding international relations majors. He remained to the very end, that colleague whom one sought to emulate: a wise and good man, a gentle man. We shall miss him.
Nov. 11, 2004--A. LeRoy Bennett, 90, of Cokesbury Village in Hockessin, died from complications of pneumonia Nov. 9, at Christiana Hospital. He was professor emeritus of political science and international relations at UD.
Born in Golden, Ill., on July 4, 1914, he earned his bachelor's degree at Western Illinois State University and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois. During World War II, he was in the U.S. Navy and served on the staff of the Officers Training School and Midshipmen's School at Ft. Schuyler, N.Y.
Dr. Bennett ws assistant professor at Michigan State University from 1946-48 and served as professor and department head at Drake University from 1954-62, when he joined the faculty at the University of Delaware as chairperson of the political science department.
At Delaware, he taught political science and international relations until he retired in 1991. A recipient of the Universitys excellence-in-teaching award, he remained active in the Department of Political Science and International Relations after his retirement, including organizing lecture series on international topics that were cosponsored by UD and the World Affairs Council of Wilmington.
His textbook, International Organizations, was published in seven editions, and he also was the author of the Historical Dictionary of the United Nations and numerous articles and book reviews.
He was member of the American Political Science Organization, the International Studies Association and the Academic Council on the United Nations System and a founding member the World Affairs Council of Wilmington, serving on its board of directors. He also served on the board of directors of the Delaware division of the United Nations Association.
Dr. Bennett was a member of the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington.
He is survived by his daughters, Linda K. Bennett of Atlanta, Marcia L. Bennett of Dayton, Nev., and Patricia Willmarth of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. He has six grandchildren: Blake, Kirk, Karin and Lara Willmarth and Megan and Patrick Smith.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Pauline Bennett, who died in 1991.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12, at the Cokesbury Village auditorium, 726 Loveville Rd., Hockessin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cokesbury Village Music & Library Fund or to UNICEF of Delaware, c/o R.T. Foard & Jones Funeral Home, 122 West Main St., Newark, DE 19711.
To send condolences, visit [www.rtfoard.com].