In Memory of David Porter, Former IES Abroad Board Member

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Ashley Houston
March 29, 2016

We were deeply saddened to hear that former IES Abroad Board member David Porter passed away on Saturday, March 26, at the age of 80.

David served on our Board for more than 15 years as Board Chair, Vice Chair, and the chair of more than five committees. During his three years as our Board Chair, from 2004-2007, David initiated fundraising efforts and promoted academic excellence. He was always in favor of investing more funding in our programming to assure the best possible experiences for our students. 

David was born in New York City in 1935, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his doctorate in Classics from Princeton University. He then spent more than two decades at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, as a teacher and administrator. He became Skidmore’s fifth president, serving from 1987-1999. After leaving his leadership post at Skidmore, David taught at Princeton University, Williams College, Indiana University, and also at Skidmore. He taught in the Classics, English, and Music departments, and served as the first Tisch Family Distinguished Professor at Skidmore. He also served on numerous Boards, including the Willa Cather Board, which he chaired.

David’s intellectual interests and achievements were broad and diverse. David authored books on Horace, Greek tragedy, and monographs on Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, and the Hogarth Press. David wrote some 100 articles on topics in Classics, music, post-classical literature, and education. An accomplished musician, he was also the co-editor of a book on pianist Edward Steuermann, with whom he studied for seven years. As a pianist, David toured throughout the United States and Great Britain performing the music of Ives, Cage, Crumb, and Satie.

In 2011, David was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Carleton College. He retired in 2013, after more than 50 years of teaching, but remained an active scholar.

President & CEO Dr. Mary M. Dwyer shared, "David was a true Renaissance man. An extremely gifted Classicist, pianist, and a very talented teacher, he epitomized the reasons that humanists are so important in academe. His leadership as president of Carleton College and then Skidmore College marked landmark years of great success and undivided focus on academic excellence. David will be greatly missed for all of his contributions to the IES Abroad community and I will be forever indebted for the years that I was fortunate enough to serve with him in his capacity as the IES Abroad Board Chair."  

IES Abroad Board Member Alan Schwartz, who served with David the entire tenure that David was on our Board, furthered, "We mourn the loss of a giant."       

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Ashley Houston

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