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In memoriam: Hubert G. Locke, a champion for justice

I am saddened, along with many colleagues throughout the University, by the passing, this Saturday, of Hubert G. Locke, professor and dean emeritus of public policy. For more than two decades, Hubert served the University of Washington – as assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, as vice provost for academic affairs and as dean of the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. But long before he arrived at the UW, and long after he retired in 1999, Hubert was a force for justice, ethics and historical context. His work left an indelible mark on the Evans School and our whole University; he will be greatly missed.

Over the years, he served as my confidant and mentor. He had a brilliant mind, was an avid reader, and he was always well-informed on key issues affecting the University, our region, and the world. His integrity was legendary, as was his eloquence. He was generous with his time, beginning when I was a junior colleague and just starting to consider administrative work. He particularly relished his interactions with students, especially students of color and those from less privileged backgrounds. Although we saw each other less frequently in recent years, when we would meet, he would always ask me about the University and the Evans School and he took a great deal of pride in the rising prominence of both.

Hubert was a professor of public affairs who both studied law enforcement policy and American policing and served, most notably, as the administrative assistant to the Detroit Commissioner of Police during the 1967 Detroit riot. That experience led him to publish the highly regarded book, The Detroit Riot of 1967, a firsthand account of that violent conflict. Throughout his life of public service, he remained a devoted advocate for racial and social justice in law enforcement.

Hubert was also a passionate student of the Holocaust and the Third Reich, and his deep knowledge of that period colored his awareness of the need for justice, equity and a civil society committed to those ideals. In a letter to his late father in which he celebrated the election of Barack Obama as president, Hubert wrote, “It is, I think, one of the surprises of history — that hardship and oppression can produce leaders of enormous vision and immense compassion.” Hubert exemplified those qualities in everything he did as a scholar, educator, and civic leader.

We mourn his death, but we are grateful for his many and lasting gifts to the UW, Seattle and world.

A memorial service will held on Saturday, July 28 at 10:00 a.m. at the University Christian Church, followed by a reception.