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Contributed by Thomas Rochon on 06/08/2011
It is with a great deal of sadness that I share the news that Professor Emeritus Willard Ticknor Daetsch passed away on Tuesday, June 7. Willard was a tremendous friend and supporter of the Ithaca College community, who as a faculty leader helped shape many aspects of the College as we know it today. I am thankful that I had the opportunity over the past three years to get to know Willard and his wife, Dorothy, and to come to count them as personal friends as well.
Professor Daetsch joined Ithaca College in 1965 as an assistant professor of German, and was promoted to associate professor and tenured in 1975. Among his many accomplishments, he was the founding director of the Center for Individual and Interdisciplinary Studies, which contributed to the early development of the London Center as well as such innovative programs as women’s studies, social work, and planned studies. In recognition of that work, an endowed scholarship, the Willard T. Daetsch Scholarship for Interdisciplinary and International Studies, was established in his name.
A strong promoter of the use of technology in language teaching, Willard founded the College’s Technology Interest Group, developed software for German instruction, and presented papers on the topic at national and international conferences. His service to the College included chairing Faculty Council, and he was one of the first two faculty members elected to the Board of Trustees.
Despite having officially retired in 1995, Willard remained a regular presence on campus. A proud veteran of the U.S. Army, he was active as a member of the Veterans Day Celebration Committee and attended the event every year, wearing his uniform and teaching younger generations about that era. He was a longtime board member of the IC Protestant Community and organized the George Clarkson Lecture Series, honoring the College’s first Protestant chaplain. Willard also served on the Gerontology Institute Community Advisory Group. For his numerous contributions to the larger Ithaca community, he was recognized with the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Ithaca-Cayuga Rotary Club as well as the Senior Citizen of the Year award from the Tompkins County Office for the Aging.
Willard and Dorothy, who retired as a reference librarian from Ithaca College, hosted numerous international students over the years and are well known and respected for their humanitarian work. The last time I saw them was a few weeks ago at the Rainbow Reception for LGBT graduates, where they received the 2011 Ally Award from the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services.
Willard lived a long time with cancer, and he was very active with the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. When the relay was held at Butterfield Stadium last June, Willard and Dorothy had the honor of lighting the torch to signal the start of the event.
The family has announced a memorial service to be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 18, 2011, at the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca, 315 N. Cayuga Street, with a reception to follow. Dorothy and their children, Brian and Melinda, request no flowers and suggest that memorial donations may be made to the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, 612 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, Ithaca, NY 14850, or to the Willard T. Daetsch Scholarship for Interdisciplinary and International Studies, c/o Elayne Nicholas, Office of Individual and Planned Giving, Ithaca College, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca NY 14850.
I know the IC community joins me in passing along our deepest condolences to Dorothy, Brian, Melinda, and the Daetsch family.