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John T. Dorsey, Jr.

John T. Dorsey, Jr., professor emeritus of political science at Vanderbilt University, died August 3, 1993, at the age of 68. He was a native of Opelika, Alabama, and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He served in the US Army in Europe from 1943-45 and won the Silver Star for heroism. It was typical of his modesty that none of his colleagues knew of that honor.

John was a Fulbright Scholar at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, University of Paris in 1951-55, and after receiving his doctorate in 1955 he joined the faculty of Michigan State University. In 1955-56 and 1957-59 he was a member and then Chief of the Michigan State University advisory group to the government of South Vietnam on issues of public administration.

Professor Dorsey joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an Associate Professor in 1961 and became a Professor in 1967. His area of teaching and research was that of public administration, with particular attention to developing nations. He was a visiting professor at the Fundacao Escola de Sociologia e Politica de Sao Paulo, in Brazil in 1964. He also served in various capacities for the Comparative Administration and Organization Theory Groups of the American Society of Public Administration. He was a member of the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, as well as the editorial boards of Administration and Society and the Journal of Comparative Administration.

He published numerous journal articles throughout his career on issues of public administration in developing countries. His careful supervision of doctoral dissertations was well known to his colleagues and graduate students. One of his students, Allen Bergerson, won the Leonard D. White award from the American Political Science Association in 1978 for the best dissertation in the general field of public administration.

John had been a civil rights activist from his student days at the University of Alabama. He was on the steering committee of La Casa, an organization devoted to ending oppression in Central America. He was a member of the Nashville Peace Alliance and helped found the Peace and Justice Center. He was extremely knowledgeable about jazz and was a former president of the Tennessee Jazz and Blues Society.

He served on the executive committee of Phi Beta Kappa at Vanderbilt and was Director of Graduate Studies in the department of political science.

A memorial service for John was held at Vanderbilt in August. At that time his son, Jefferson, characterized his father in words that sum up John's character to his friends:

"He was full of humor and wit. Central to everything, he was humble. I sometimes used his character as a yardstick to measure against others, to their detriment. I could ask no better for myself than to be like my father."

Erwin C. Hargrove Vanderbilt University

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Title Annotation:In Memoriam; political scientist
Author:Hargrove, Erwin C.
Publication:PS: Political Science & Politics
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Mar 1, 1994
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