Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2002

In Memory

Marvin Harris: 1927-2001 R.M. Hare: 1919-2002 Endowment Honors CLAS Graduate

Marvin Harris: 1927-2001

Marvin HarrisUF Anthropology Graduate Research Professor Emeritus Marvin Harris passed away on Thursday, October 25 in Gainesville at the age of 74. Harris was an influential theorist in the field of anthropology for the past 50 years. In 1953, he received his PhD from Columbia University, where he also taught and served as chairman of the anthropology department before coming to UF. Harris joined UF's anthropology department in 1981 and retired in 2000. His research spanned the topics of race, evolution and culture, and often focused on Latin America and Brazil.

Harris served as president of the general anthropology section of the American Anthropological Association, and he was also a distinguished lecturer of the organization. He directed the Columbia/ Cornell/ Harvard/ Illinois Summer Field-Studies Program in Brazil.

Harris is survived by his wife Madeline and daughter Susan.

R.M. Hare: 1919-2002

R.M. HareGraduate Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy R.M. Hare died on January 29 at his home in England. He was 82.

After being held as a prisoner of war for more than three years during World War II, Hare returned to England and completed his studies at Oxford University. He joined the Oxford faculty in 1947 and was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy there from 1966 until 1983. He then came to UF, where he spent 10 years on the faculty, teaching a graduate seminar in ethical theory and regularly admitting undergraduate philosophy majors as well as other interested students.

Known as one of the greatest moral philosophers of the postwar era, he developed a distinctive and highly influential position called "prescriptivism," which he defended and detailed in his trilogy of books; The Language of Morals (1952), Freedom and Reason (1963) and Moral Thinking (1981). Hare's version of prescriptivism holds that moral judgements are not descriptive claims about the world, but they have universal applications. Later in his career, he turned his attention to a wide range of moral issues, including abortion, war and peace, the environment and health care policy, producing widely cited papers in all of these areas. UF Philosophy Chair Robert D'Amico describes Hare as one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century. "He brought to all of his work an attention to detail, a lucid and elegant prose and a deep and unchanging commitment to the importance of ethics and the power of rational inquiry."

Hare is survived by his wife Catherine, four children and six grandchildren.

Endowment Honors CLAS Graduate

An endowment fund has been established in memory of Christine Geraldson Lassiter, a 1973 CLAS graduate who died February 13, 2001. Her family and friends started the endowment through contributions, and the fund will support poetry and fiction readings as well as graduate fellowships through the Creative Writing Program.

Lassiter was born in Bradenton, Florida on December 23, 1951 and received her bachelor's degree in psychology from UF in 1973. She also earned a teaching certificate from the University of South Florida and became an English instructor at St. Stephens Episcopal School in Bradenton. In 1989, Lassiter obtained a master's degree in literature with an emphasis in theater from East Tennessee State University. She taught classes in creative writing and the arts at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, East Tennessee State and Appalachian State University.

For the past 14 years, Lassiter lived and worked in Asheville, North Carolina, where she was well known as a creative force in the community. Christine's poems were published in numerous journals and have won many awards, including the Randall Jarrell Poetry Award. She was a founding member of the Asheville Playback Theatre and finished her first screenplay, "Stripping Down," shortly before her death.

Lassiter's family and friends describe her as a beacon of love, compassion and support for many people, noting how she chose to work with diverse groups--community college and university students, home schoolers and at-risk youths--and share with them her excitement about the world and words.

Contributions to the memorial fund can be sent to the UF Foundation, PO Box 14425, Gainesville FL 32604. Please write "Christine Geraldson Lassiter Fund" on the check.

Courtesy Anthropology (Harris)
Courtesy Philosophy (Hare)

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