Categotry Archives: Education


Evon Vogt

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Categories: Education, Medicine, Scientists, Writers/Editors

Evon Zartman Vogt Jr. studied the modern-day Maya Indians of Chiapas, Mexico for 40 years.
To immerse himself in the Maya culture, Vogt spent part of every year living in a small Mexican village with no running water. The anthropologist learned the local dialect and over time, became a leading authority of the indigenous tribe. He wrote 19 books and received numerous honors, including the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award the Mexican government bestows on foreigners.
For an academic, Vogt lived an adventurous life. To pay for his education at the University of Chicago, the Gallup, N.M., native worked in the gold mines of Nevada and as a U.S. Forest Service ranger. During World War II, he served as a combat intelligence officer in the Navy. He also did research on the Navajo soldiers used by the military as “code talkers” in the South Pacific theatre.
After the war, Vogt returned to the University of Chicago, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology. In 1948, he joined the faculty of Harvard University. By the time he retired four decades later, Vogt had held a variety of positions, including chairman, in the school’s anthropology department.
Vogt died on May 13 of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 85.


Richard Biggs


Categories: Actors, Education, Hollywood

rbiggs.jpgRichard Biggs, an actor known for playing physician roles, died on May 22. Cause of death was not released. He was 44.

The Columbus, Ohio native was only 17 when he decided to become an actor. Biggs studied performing arts at the University of Southern California and spent his off-hours teaching at the 32nd Street Magnet School in Los Angeles. After graduation, he taught at the Will Geer Theater and performed in its productions of “Tempest,” “Cymbeline” and “The Taming of the Shrew.”

His big break came in 1987 when he landed the role of Dr. Marcus Hunter on the NBC soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.” Biggs regularly appeared on the daytime drama for five years and won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Best Supporting Actor. Since 2001, he also had recurring roles on the CBS soap “Guiding Light” and on the Lifetime drama, “Strong Medicine.”

Biggs took his medical and theatrical prowess into space when he was cast as Dr. Stephen Franklin on the SCI FI show, “Babylon 5.” He played the part for four seasons and in three subsequent TV movies. Biggs also made guest appearances on numerous prime time shows, including “JAG,” “ER” and “NYPD Blue.” Last month, he played Dr. Flynn on an episode of NBC’s “Crossing Jordan.”


Vernon Jarrett

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Categories: Education, Media, Writers/Editors

vjarrett.jpgVernon Jarrett, a trailblazing Chicago journalist, died on May 23 of respiratory failure due to cancer. He was 84.
Jarrett was born in Paris, Tenn., to two schoolteachers whose parents were former slaves. After graduating from Knoxville College, he moved to Chicago and became a reporter for the Defender, the nation’s most influential black newspaper. Jarrett covered a race riot his first day on the job. In 1970, the Chicago Tribune hired him to become its first black syndicated columnist. Thirteen years later, the outspoken writer took his political and social commentary to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked until 1994.
Jarrett championed civil rights in his broadcasting career as well. From 1948 to 1951, he and composer Oscar Brown Jr. produced WJJD-AM’s “Negro Newsfront,” the first black daily radio broadcast in the U.S. He produced nearly 2,000 broadcasts on race relations and politics for WLS-Channel 7, and received the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
A founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the current president of one of the group’s Chicago chapters, Jarrett also dedicated himself to education. He taught history and journalism at several colleges and founded the Afro-Academic Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, an intellectual competition for black high school students.
In recent years, Jarrett wrote a column for the New York Times’ New American News Syndicate and produced The Jarrett Journal, a news broadcast on WVON-AM, Chicago’s only African American-owned radio station. He was inducted into the National Literary Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch a Tribute From WLS
Listen to a Tribute From NPR


Bernard Lefkowitz


Categories: Education, Media, Writers/Editors

blefkowitz.jpgBernard Lefkowitz, an investigative journalist and author, died on May 21 of cancer. He was 66.

A native New Yorker, Lefkowitz worked as a reporter and assistant city editor at the New York Post during the 1960s. He served in the Peace Corps, then returned to Manhattan and became a best-selling author.

Over the course of his three-decade publishing career, Lefkowitz researched and wrote four books about contemporary culture. He was best known for the 1997 true crime book, “Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb,” which explored the 1989 gang rape of a mentally disabled girl by popular high school jocks living in an affluent New Jersey suburb. An Edgar Award finalist, the harrowing story focused on the way the townspeople rallied around the perpetrators and disparaged the victim.

“These boys were regarded as something special, as athletes often are in our culture. As long as they performed on the athletic field, they were spared the judgment and opprobrium of adults. Character was separated from achievement,” Lefkowitz once said. “Our Guys” was adapted into a 1999 TV movie starring Ally Sheedy and Eric Stoltz.

When he wasn’t writing books or articles for publications such as Esquire, The Los Angeles Times and Sports Illustrated, Lefkowitz taught writing classes at Columbia University.

Read an Excerpt From “Our Guys”


Samuel Iwry


Categories: Education, Religious Leaders

siwry.jpgSamuel Iwry, one of the leading authorities on the Dead Sea Scrolls, died on May 8 of a stroke. He was 93.
Born and raised in Poland, Iwry was a direct descendant of Rebbe Israel Shem Tov, the founder of Judaism’s Hasidic Movement. He graduated from Warsaw University, the Higher Institute for Judaic Studies and the Teachers College of Wilno, then left the country in 1939 to escape the Nazis.
In 1941, Iwry was recruited by future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to serve in Shanghai as the Far East representative for the Jewish Agency for Palestine. While helping refugees escape and return to Palestine, Iwry was imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese occupying forces. He was rescued by Nina Rochman, a hospital administrator who persuaded local authorities to release Iwry for medical treatment.
Samuel and Nina married in 1946 and immigrated to America. Once settled in Baltimore, Iwry worked on his doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University under archaeologist William Foxwell Albright. His traditional Jewish education and knowledge of Semitic languages proved useful when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. After intense study, he and Albright became the first scholars to identify and authenticate the ancient religious texts. They also wrote the first doctoral dissertation on the scrolls.
Iwry instructed literature students at Baltimore Hebrew College from 1947 to 1985, and spent four decades teaching Near Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins until his retirement in 1991. Iwry’s autobiography, “To Wear the Dust of War: From Warsaw to Shanghai to the Promised Land,” will be published in August.

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