UW News

May 18, 2002

Marc Lindenberg, Evans School dean and leader in global relief work, is dead at 56

Marc Lindenberg, dean of the UW’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and an influential scholar and practitioner in humanitarian relief and international development, died yesterday of lung cancer. He was 56.

As an educator, Lindenberg pushed for Western universities to get more involved in the problems of developing nations. His academic posts included stints at Harvard University, University of Oregon and University of Washington, where he headed the public-policy school for the last five years.

Lindenberg alternated his academic work with managerial posts in the burgeoning arena of non-governmental organizations, most recently – from 1992 to 1997 – overseeing $400 million in relief and development programs in 36 countries for CARE USA.

Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, called Lindenberg “the epitome of a global citizen.”

Those words came in a letter from Arias two weeks ago that was read at the campus announcement of a UW center to be established in Lindenberg’s honor. The Marc Lindenberg Center for Humanitarian Action, International Development and Global Citizenship, with an initial goal of $5 million in public and private funds, will create new international exchanges and internships, certificate programs in global crisis intervention and other projects to intensify global involvement and study opportunities.

That May 3 event also marked the first official notice of Lindenberg’s terminal cancer, and Evans School faculty, staff and students stood outside and greeted their dean with applause as he approached Parrington Hall. At the luncheon, surrounded by friends and donors of the school, Lindenberg made a 40-minute presentation on his vision for increased UW involvement in humanitarian study.

Lindenberg maintained contact with world figures such as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former President Jimmy Carter, and was especially well known in his academic field. His most recent book, “Going Global: Transforming Relief and Development NGOs,” has been nominated for the Ludwick Fleck and Rachel Carson Prizes, the ARNOVA Award for Outstanding Book in Non-profit and Voluntary Action Research, and the Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Prize.

“We have lost a remarkable human being, a brilliant leader, a compassionate friend,” UW President Richard L. McCormick said. “When he came to University of Washington, he brought a new way for a university to engage world problems, and it affected and influenced all of us. His legacy will live on through the recently established Lindenberg Center. We grieve his passing, and we will miss him very much.”

A native of Pittsburgh, Lindenberg earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at Oberlin College and his master’s and doctorate in comparative and development administration from the University of Southern California.

Lindenberg taught at the University of Washington and University of Oregon and, in the early 1970s, was assistant director for the American Friends Service Committee Programs for Southeast Asia.

>From 1980-1987, he served as rector (dean) and professor at the Central American Institute of Business Administration, founded in conjunction with the Harvard Business School with campuses in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He later taught at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he received the Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989.

After five years as a top executive with CARE, Lindenberg joined the University of Washington in early 1998. Under his leadership, international humanitarian projects became one of the school’s hallmarks, with the launch of projects such as a master’s degree program that requires a stint in the Peace Corps.

“Marc Lindenberg has done more than anyone else to change the culture of the University of Washington,” McCormick said about Lindenberg’s five years at the university.

A campus memorial is being planned for June 4.

For more information, contact Elaine Chang, Evans School assistant dean, at (206) 616-1607, home (206) 721-3017 or cell (206) 679-8822, or elainec@u.washington.edu. A high-res photo of Lindenberg is available at http://evansuw.org/communications/lindenberg/.