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World Association of International Studies

Post Tributes to Professor Ronald Hilton (1911-2007)
Created by John Eipper on 02/27/07 1:00 PM - tributes-for-professor-ronald-hilton

Previous posts in this discussion:


Tributes to Professor Ronald Hilton (1911-2007) (John Eipper, USA, 02/27/07 1:00 pm)

We are having technical difficulties. In the interim, all tributes are posted and future tributes will be posted on this page in order of receipt with the most recent at the bottom of the page. I will organize the tributes to Prof. Hilton alphabetically with links as soon as the website is fixed and our internet access is restored. For those who read the WAIS posts on our website, several hundred posts/discussions have yet to be posted. Again, I will post these soon. NN

JE: The outpouring of messages from WAISers over the last three hours
eloquently reminds us of the contribution Prof. Hilton made to our
organization, to learning, and to humanity. Here are the first WAISers to
write on this sad day:

From Evelyn Aleman (US):

I am very saddened by this news. Prof. Hilton and his family were
wonderful in inviting my young daughter, my husband and me to visit their
home while attending our first WAIS conference several years ago. This took
place just a year or so after I joined WAIS--a wonderful vehicle through
which different minds express their views and thoughts about world politics,
humor, literature, and all other issues. I remember how impressed we were
with Prof. Hilton's interest in just about any topic, his incredible
intellectual abilities, and his love for learning.

As a WAISer, I often enjoyed reading Prof. Hilton's wonderfully WAIS
comments, and felt so fortunate to know someone like him: full of history
and world knowledge. He will be greatly missed, though I'm sure he already
knows that.

My condolences to Mary Hilton, Mary Huyck, his extended family and friends.


From Sardar Haddad (US; ex-Iran):

I am deeply saddened by Professor Hilton passing away, and I would like to
express my condolences to his family and all WAISers. I enjoyed knowing
Professor Hilton and my discussions with him. His creation of WAIS is a
wonderful achievement. I will miss his wise contributions.


From Bienvenido Macario (Philippines):

Maria and I would like to extend our condolences to Mrs. Ronald Hilton and
Mary Huyck.
This comes to us all yet we could never really be prepared for times like
this. Being fully aware of what we will no longer have is the basis of our
grief in his passing.


From Robert Gibbs (US):

It is with profound regret that I learned of Professor Hilton's passing.
While I know that there is nothing I can say that that will truly ease the
pain or sense of loss, I just want to say that of all the men that I have
met in this world that he was one of the few I truly admired and held in the
highest regard. The world has lost a truly great man and he will be missed.

May God bless Professor Hilton and continue to bless his memory.

With profound sympathy and a true sense of pride in having known Professor


From Francisco Wong-Diaz (US; ex-Cuba):

I am deeply saddened by Ron's passing. Please, keep me and those WAISERS who
reside in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area apprised of funeral
or memorial plans.


From Robert Gard (US):

A remarkable man!


From Siegfried Ramler (US):

Please convey deep condolences to Professor Hilton's family. Ronald
Hilton's life and career are a great inspiration to us all. He enriched us
by his erudition, by his creation of the WAIS community, and by his warmth
and devotion to its members, both personally and professionally. He leaves a
great legacy and a challenge to us to continue to advance his ideal of
constructive dialog in furtherance of international understanding and


From Gordon Jackson (US):

I am very sad to hear of Professor Hilton's passing. I only met him in
person on one occasion, but I
came to know him through his postings. I will miss him greatly.

Is any thought being given to establishing a memorial fund in his name for
students of international affairs?

JE: Gordon Jackson's proposal is an outstanding one. I will consult with
Prof. Hilton's family about making the memorial fund a reality.


JE: The notes of condolence to Prof. Hilton's family continue to pour in.
These are from the last hour:

From Haili Zhang and Xiao Liu (US):

It came as such a shock that Professor Ronald Hilton has left us.

Being WAISer and Ronald's tenants for almost 2 years, my husband and I went
through being so amazed about Ronald's intellectual life-span to getting
used to reading Ronald's posts every day and chatting with him on weekends
now and then. Ronald is just like any other colleague or
friends of ours with whom we have enjoyed interacting. Even if I re-lived my
whole life for a second time, I would still be over 30 years short of
Ronald's life experience. Ronald's departure strikes us as missing something
that has been there forever.

Our hearts go to Professor Ronald Hilton's family. May they feel the peace
that Ronald is enjoying
up there now.


From Michael Sullivan (US):

What a loss to the world, the academic community and WAIS. He was the most
knowledgeable and compassionate man I ever knew. He shall be greatly missed
by one and all. I thank God for letting Ronald Hilton stay on earth so
long, as he touched so many people. The measure of a man is through his
work, and did he leave the world a better place while bringing out the best
in man. Prof. Hilton achieved the highest plateau one can achieve in a

Please convey my deepest sympathies and highest respect to his family. If
there is anything I can do please let me know.


From Mendo Castro Henriques (Portugal):

I am very saddened by Professor Hilton passing away. I joined WAIS,
his wonderful achievement, about two years ago and I was impressed
with his interest in so many topics, and his love for truth.


From Carmen Negrin (France):

I am very sorry to learn about Ronald Hilton's passing away. He
participated in the WAIS debates until the very last minute, and I am sure
it gave him great satisfaction to know that his "creation" would continue
beyond him. I wish we could all go away like that, remaining as involved
and active as he did, until the end.


From James Tent (US):

The death of Ronal Hilton saddens me greatly. He was truly a man of
universal interests. Now, I am doubly grateful that he urged me to
participate in the WAIS Conference at Stanford last summer. It was a great
honor to meet him and to observe, however briefly, his irrepressible
interest in so many subjects, however esoteric, in so many fields. For me as
a historian, he was also an anomaly, a person who could discuss historical
epochs from today's perspective, then recount his first-hand experiences as
an eyewitness of such phenomena as daily life in Nazi-controlled Germany or
Spain amidst the travails of its terrible Civil War. We shall all miss him.


From Mike Bonnie (US):

We are deeply saddened by the news of Professor Hilton. Shanhui and I will
always remember the kindness and warmth he expressed in our first meeting at
the summer conference. His image of wisdom and knowledge will always be with

For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS),
and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by
simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/

John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA

JE: The responses and outpouring of sympathy have been overwhelming...

From Ross Rogers, Jr. (US):

The news of Prof. Ronald Hilton's death is very sad, sad to me in various
ways. He
was responsible for me becoming a member of a very select group. An honor.
I enjoyed
and appreciated an exchange of email, some of it not used as postings but
only sharing
with him my own thoughts and feelings. Also, from time to time I was able
to send other
printed material. I regret that I did not know him better and only talked
to him by phone on
two occasions. Valuable memories.


From George Krajcsik (US):

I am greatly saddened by Prof. Hilton's death. Although I never met him, I
respected and admired his erudition. In December 2005 he invited me to join
WAIS and I happily agreed. He will always remain the embodiment of WAIS to
me, and probably to most of us in this community.


From Istvan Simon (US):

I was greatly saddened by this shocking news. It was a great privilege to
have known Ronald. Both my wife Chunhui Mo and I were fortunate to meet him
and his family, and would like to convey our deep sympathy to Mary Hilton
and Mary Huyck on this sad occasion.

I always enjoyed Ronald's writings in WAIS on all subjects, but especially
so when he would reminisce about his years at Stanford and his experiences
in the tumultuous years before and during the Second World War. On these
occasions Ronald was a living source of history to us all, as he witnessed
so many pivotal 20th-century events. We shall miss him greatly.

From Harry Papasotiriou (Greece):

Let me express my grief and sense of loss at the passing away of Ronald
Hilton. All of us at WAIS owe it to him to continue the WAIS forum, which
Ronald Hilton clearly considered one of his great legacies in the direction
of bringing people of intellect all over the world closer together through
informed and civil dialogue. Heavy is the burden that now rests on John
Eipper's shoulders, as the WAIS editor, and I wish him much success in
keeping this invaluable world-wide forum of intellectual discourse alive and
well. But all of us must contribute in this worthy endeavor and assist
John, so that Ronald Hilton's legacy will prove lasting and vibrant.

JE: I thank Harry Papasotiriou for his best wishes. Our challenge as we
WAIS for the next 41 years is to continue to dialogue with the passion,
fairness, erudition, and unbounded energy that characterized each day of
Prof. Hilton's long life. It is a difficult challenge, but I am confident
we can rise to the occasion. We owe this to Prof. Hilton.


JE: A number of tributes to Prof. Hilton came in overnight from WAISers in

From Ernie Hunt (France):

Please convey to Mary and family our deepest condolences. Ronald Hilton was
my professor at Stanford when I earned an AM degree in the Hispanic American
Studies Department many years ago, and then when older, much older indeed,
was invited to join WAIS. My participation has been a wonderful stimulus for
me in retirement which has kept me abreast of the debates about the really
important issues of our time. I will miss his poignant, humane and
intellectual comments on so many subjects. "Rest eternal grant to him, O
Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul and the souls
of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."


From Vincent Littrell (Belgium):

I wish to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Professor Hilton.
Though I did not personally meet him, it was because of an e-mail discussion
he and I had that he invited me to be a WAIS member two years ago and I have
been immensely appreciative and thankful of that fact. Being a WAIS member
has been enlightening and rewarding for me.

Professor Hilton had a keen, penetrating and open mind. When he posted his
testament to WAIS sometime back, I thought (and still think) that posting to
be the best I had read since becoming a member of WAIS.


From John Heelan (UK):

Ronald Hilton ´s death is very sad news indeed, and our prayers are with
his loved ones. The good news, if there ever can be good news in these
situations, is that Ronald has left a massive legacy to the world by his
lifetime of inspiring students world-wide and by his establishing a forum
such as WAIS, in which international views can be debated in
(relatively) civil ways. (For me personally, I have lost one of the very
few extant direct links with my main period of study, Lorca and Spain
1920-1940.) A sad day, but let us rejoice and be thankful for Ronald's
lasting memory, his achievements and his legacies. A great man passes!


From David Pike (France):

How many times, over decades, I have prepared myself for this moment. I knew
it would be a moment of sheer loneliness, and now it's come, and I'm not
prepared at all. About ten years ago I prepared a fond obituary, and now I
find myself not wanting to deliver it. I would prefer to carve it up in
little pieces, and deliver it over years. He was the greatest influence by
far on my career, but more importantly, on my mind. His own was like none

He's gone, and with him what a world indeed ..


From Alain de Benoist (France):

I am very sad to hear about Ronald Hilton's death. He was a free mind, kind
and generous. He was also clever enough to organize his WAIS succession. All
WAISers will miss him. I express of course my condolences to his family. I
regret that I never met him.


From Sergey Shirin (Russia):

I'm saddened, too. I'd like to present my condolences to Prof. Hilton's


From Eugen Solf (Germany):

Would you please pass on to Professor Hilton's family my sympathies and best
thoughts in these days. I assume and hope the grief about having lost such a
man and father will be offset by the memories the family has of this
remarkable personality--memories which should be and shall be passed onto
future generations and shall be used to form the characters of these coming
generations. A truly unique person, wise, thoughtful and open will not exist
again, but his thoughts will live on in all those persons who have crossed
his path. On balance parts of this world have become more scholarly if not
better thanks to his existence.

JE comments: I am struck by the love and fondness demonstrated by WAISers
who never even met Prof. Hilton personally: this is a true measure of the
impact he had on so many of us.


JE: It has now been 24 hours since Prof. Hilton's death--and though
we now celebrate his contributions to WAIS and to all our lives, it
pains me that he cannot read these messages (and point the typos out
to me!). I know that Prof. Hilton knew, but tragically he is not now
here to see, how much he meant to all of us. Here are some additional
testimonies (more to follow):

From Miles Seeley (US):

I am deeply saddened to hear about Professor Hilton's death. A
classmate of mine at Stanford from 1947 to 1951, Jaqui White,
recommended me to Ronald for WAIS membership several years ago. I was
unable to meet him personally, but I felt very close to him from our
postings and sometimes from personal emails. He was the epitome of
intellectual strength combined with compassion and amazing fairness.
He treated all WAISers as equals even when it was quite clear he was
miles ahead of many. If there were 1,000 clones of him in positions of
authority throughout the world, the world would be a far better place.
My sympathies go to his family. I miss him.


From George Zhibin Gu (China):

Reading Professor Hilton's posted comments just days ago, his passing
is very sad to me. I tried to get info on his life, but the bio posted
on WAIS website is too brief. I wish to know more about the man, his
life and ideas. Based on the little info I have, he is a man of
mission: keeping WAIS alive for 41 years can only be done by a man
like him.


From Cameron Sawyer (Russia):

How sad that Ronald is gone. He was so much a part of all of our
lives. How painful it is that that mortality which will take us all
has taken Ronald out of this world.

But how happy that he had such a long and rich life, working hard and
with a perfectly lucid mind right up to the very end, in his
ninety-sixth year. An enviable life, and death, indeed, although that
is scarce comfort to those of us who miss him and will miss him for a
long time.


From Edward Jajko (US):

I join my WAIS colleagues in expressing my deep sadness at the passing
of Professor Ronald Hilton and in extending sympathies and condolences
to his family. What a life! The span of years alone--1911-2007--is
remarkable. What Ronald Hilton packed into those years is even more
remarkable. As Istvan Simon noted, he was a living source of history,
a witness to events in Europe before World War II. He was a Stanford
professor before I was born (and I am now retired), knew Herbert
Hoover (whose funeral cortege in New York City I witnessed), and
participated in establishing the division of responsibilities between
the Hoover Institution Library and the Stanford University Libraries.
He was an integral if not always well-appreciated part of Stanford.
The university is just about 110 years old and Professor Hilton was
associated with it for more than half that time. I first came to know
Professor Hilton after I joined the Hoover Institution Library in
1983, when he had already been a visiting scholar there for years and
a familiar figure to my colleagues. He came to know me as the Hoover
Library's Middle East person and began to telephone me with inquiries
about Middle Eastern matters when publishing the World Affairs Report,
just as he directed inquiries in other areas to my curatorial
colleagues. He honored me with kind words in WAR, with his
friendship, and with membership in WAIS. I enjoyed and learned from
his postings on the WAIS list and was always amazed by the breadth of
his knowledge and interests. His was truly an enormous intellect. So
much is gone with him; how good it is that he was able to give so much
of his knowledge to the world. I am thankful for the privilege of
having known him and being admitted into his friendship. I will miss
him greatly.


From Nigel Jones (UK):

Please allow me to add my condolences to those of so many WAISers on the
death of Professor Hilton. Although I was never fortunate enough to meet
him, I corresponded with him on his special subject, Spain, and he was
generous enough to invite me to join WAIS as a result. His open and lively
mind, and his vitality and energy--extraordinary in a man of his great
age--has been remarked on by everyone. A true link to the living past
has been
lost, but WAIS lives on as his memorial.


From Henry Levin (US):

I arrived at Stanford in 1968 as a new faculty member and met Ronald
that year or the following year because of my interest in Latin
America. I remember being impressed with the independent thinking
and intellectual care that Ronald displayed in seminars and
discussions at Casa Bolivar. During the seventies I remember his
inviting me and my wife to a social event in honor of Burnett
Bolletin, establishing a friendship and a new list of readings with
the latter and a much more nuanced understanding of the Spanish Civil
War than I had obtained from the many sides of the conflict (not just
Loyalists vs. Republicanos). Being married into a Spanish family with
an Anarchist from Valencia as my father-in-law and a Falangist and
Monarchist from Santander as my mother-in-law (both living with us), I
found Bolletin's views to be enlightening. Moreover, I learned that
Bolletin and his wife were ballroom dancers and they showed us as
"they tripped the lights fantastic" at Ronald's home.

In more recent years I came to appreciate the meaning of Liberalism in
Ronald's stance towards different topics. I could not always predict
how he would come out. Here was a guy housed at the Hoover
Institution who was not enamored with the Libertarian perspective and
showed clear concern for humanistic acts of kindness. He was outraged
at the decisions of the Stanford authorities (e.g. in dumping
departments of geography and architecture), but still devoted to
Stanford in his heart and always trying to get change there. He was a
remarkable person and we will miss him.


From Hank Greely (US):

He was a remarkable man and although, at some level, we all knew that
he couldn't live (and write, and talk, and think) forever, his death
is still a shock. It was a full life and to be celebrated, not


From David Crow (US):

I, too, add my voice to the chorus singing Prof. Hilton's requiem. I
have been a member of WAIS since 1994. Somehow, a weekly Internet
column I co-authored came to his attention and he invited me to join
WAIS (or rather, its previous incarnation).

I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Hilton once in 1999. He very
graciously invited me to his Stanford home and we chatted for about an
hour and a half, mostly about me--how I became interested in Mexico,
what I intended to study at UT Austin, etc. What a monumental ego
mine to have filled up the air with my trifles instead of listening to
his epics. I had very little idea at the time of the breadth of his
knowledge and experience.

I've always thought that belonging to WAIS is like being a Mason or
maybe a member of the Bavarian Illuminati: part of a sect with
tentacles in all parts of the world, with many powerful, influential
members, most of whom do not know each other but are inextricably
bound together by a common interest in world affairs and the pursuit
of knowledge beyond borders. Prof. Hilton was the wise, benevolent
leader of this unlikely gathering of notables into which I'm still not
sure how I gained entry.

His style in moderating the WAIS forum was always even-handed. His
temperament was undoubtedly Burkean conservative, yet he was acutely
aware of the social injustices that plague his beloved Latin America
and elsewhere. He described his own philosophy as that of a
"mugwump": "a person who is independent (as in politics) or who
remains undecided or neutral". The Christian virtues (though not
exclusively so) of charity and agape suffused Prof. Hilton's thought,
work, and, I think, life--a wonderful example for WAISers!

My most heartfelt condolences to his family.

JE: I still have no information about a memorial service for Prof.
Hilton, but I am in contact with his daughter Mary Huyck, and will
keep the WAIS community informed. Some additional tributes:

From Christine Bennett (US):

I too was a student of Ronald Hilton's way back when, and I am
profoundly grateful to him for the great influence he had on my life
and studies. Through WAIS he brought the world to us and kept us
abreast of so much. To Mary Hilton, Mary and Phil Huyck, my heartfelt
condolences on his passing.


From Alberto Bolivar (Peru):

We will miss professor Hilton ´s enthusiasm and analyses. WAIS is what
it is now thanks to him. Our best tribute to him is to continue his
job in the same way he always did.


From Charles Ridley (US):

Like so many others, I an saddened to learn of the death of Professor
Hilton but grateful that his passing was peaceful and without
suffering. I would appreciate your sending my condolences to his


From Richard Hancock (US):

Nancy and I are greatly saddened at Mr. Hilton's passing. I spent four
years in Mr. Hilton's program at Stanford during which time I was a
monthly contributor to the Hispanic American Report. I have warm
memories of those times and the camaraderie that we enjoyed while
working on the Report. Many of those friends are departed, and now Mr.
Hilton has joined them. "May flights of angels sing him to his rest!"


From Joe Listo (Brazil):

I am still in shock with the sudden passing away of Professor Hilton.
Although I did not meet him personally, I felt I knew him my entire life. He
invited me to join WAIS in April of 2005, and in doing so he generously
opened the doors to a new world for me. I shall never forget him for as long
as I live.

My deepest condolences to his family. I wished he could have lived yet
another 95 years.


JE: Joe Listo's moving statement underscores the fact that many of us
knew Prof. Hilton for but a tiny fraction of his 95 years. Joe knew
him only via e-mail since 2005. I never saw him outside the two most
recent WAIS conferences--in 2001 and 2006. And we conversed
face-to-face for no more than a total of 4 hours: mostly during two
morning visits to the "Hesperides" following the conferences. Over
the last six months, however, I was fortunate to correspond with him
3-4 times per week as we worked on the WAIS forum. Although at times
I sensed (but it is hard to "sense" such things via e-mail!) that
Prof. Hilton knew he didn't have much time left, he was still
concerned every day with the quality and vitality of each WAIS post.
He was alert until the last message I received from him, dated Sunday,
February 18th.

It was both a challenge and a great comfort as I "WAISed" each day to
know that a helpful and wiser WAISer was looking over my shoulder.
Since yesterday, in a sense, I feel hauntingly alone.

It is a profound commentary on Prof. Hilton's character that still in
his 90s, he was an indefatigable teacher and mentor--and was as open
to new friends as he was fiercely loyal to the students and colleagues
he had known for decades.


JE: These are the condolence messages that have come to my inbox over
the last three hours. Some of them are from long-silent WAISers, whom
I am certain Prof. Hilton would gently encourage to write the forum
more often!


From Hernan Grimberg (Argentina):

I am very sad about Prof. Ronald Hilton. I still remember the
beautiful and bright afternoon he received me in his house in Palo
Alto to have a cup of tea and chat about almost everything. Yet, that
was far away and long ago. There is still a posting on the internet
that he wrote about the discussion we had.
I express my condolences to his family.


From Ángel Viñas (Spain/Belgium):

I ´ve been ill in bed for several days. When I opened my computer I
learned of Ronald ´s passing away. May I express my sadness and may I
ask you to convey to his family my deeply felt sympathy in these
tragic hours?


From Randy Black (US):

I never met Ronald Hilton in person. But I shared many personal emails with
him over the past seven plus years. Since Prof. Hilton invited me to join
in the late 1990s, I have enjoyed every moment of my participation in this
fantastic society. Last night, after receiving the notice of his death, my
wife inquired about my melancholy mood. I tried to explain that a very great
and noble man had died someone whom I knew only via the Internet. She was
not quite clear as to why I was so impacted by the passing of someone I had
never laid eyes on. I told her that Ronald Hilton had given me a great
opportunity to share thoughts with and to learn from dozens of scholars
across the world and had on occasion, responded to my posts with words of
praise, and occasionally a mild critique.

With each and every post from other WAISers, I learned. I was not his
student when he was active in the Stanford classrooms, but I was his student
for the past seven years in the WAIS classroom of the world. In my mind,
that was his gift to me and to my WAIS friends. I will miss him more than I
can express.


From Daryl DeBell (US):

I must add my condolences to Ronald's family. His life and his passing
were as near to ideal as can be imagined, and that alone should
provide great comfort to them.


From Jody Brennan (US):

Professor Hilton is loved and missed and our heartfelt condolences to his
family and close friends in academia; we will always remember and pray for
him. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Professor Hilton on
more than a few occasions at the Hoover Institution and had especially
lively talks about the forming of the United Nations in SF after WWII
(events which he attended). I last met him at our WAIS summer event and he
was welcoming and excited, and even took to the podium himself to fill time.
Always referring to himself as a "mugwump," his astute knowledge of so many
topics of the world and objective mind was invaluable to WAIS
discussions--as was his impatience for historical untruths.


From Rob Gaudet (US):

Prof. Hilton invited me to join WAIS after he read my columns in The
Stanford Daily, which I wrote while in law school. I met with him a
few times, including a visit on the porch of his home. He was
brilliant and he had an incisive mind, of course, we can all see that
clearly in his comments.

What impressed me was that he was also a kind human being with great
empathy and understanding. When a former girlfriend and I had broken
up, I was distraught. On a visit to Stanford, I visited Prof. Hilton
again on his porch. He had his walking stick. We sat in the sun. He
told me not to worry, "it's like waiting for the bus, another one will
come along." I could not see it at the time but, of course, he was
right. His metaphor was amusing but also wise.

The second thing that most impressed me was his sheer courage. He
told me about his fight with a former director of the Hoover Institute
who had ordered him to "stop spewing garbage" out from the Institute
in the form of his WAIS postings. The Hoover Institute is notoriously
conservative and the director took issue with Prof. Hilton and his
membership's different views. Rather than back down (he never did, and
real intellectuals with courage should not), Prof. Hilton took the
matter to the Provost of the University and noted that Hoover was part
of an academic institution where all views must be respected. Of
course, he was right. And the director backed down. How many people
have such courage?

Only a few days ago, on Friday of last week, I was once again back in
Palo Alto for a brief visit. I asked Prof. Hilton by email and on
very short notice if I could see him in the evening, from 6:30 pm
onwards. He replied that he would be in bed at the time. It is
incredible that even in his last days, as his energy ebbed, he was
kind enough to read and respond to personal correspondence. He was a
man who upheld standards of decency, common sense, morality, and
intellectual freedom even at times when it seemed that all those
things were falling apart.

He introduced me to two friends -- Tim Ashby and Linda Nyquist. The
former has become one of my greatest friends and we are both grateful
to Prof. Hilton for making the introduction when Tim first came to
Seattle. It was a decent thing to do, asking me to welcome Tim into a
new city, and it won't be forgotten. Linda, in turn, had given me
great comfort and relief when I first moved to Seattle. Thank you,
Prof. Hilton, for upholding the values of one-on-one camraderie,
intellectual curiousity, and courage. He was a hero.


JE comments: Rob Gaudet's closing line sums up what we all feel about
Prof. Hilton: he was a hero. And I know that he would want us
(heroically) to get back to our "normal" WAIS discussions--although on
second thought, are our discussions ever truly "normal"? I shall post
some of the backlog later today. Pax et lux.


JE: The memorial tributes to our dear Prof. Hilton continue to pour in. I
just received these from Tim Ashby and Jaqui White:


From Tim Ashby (US):

Here's a whimsical story of how I met Prof. Ronald Hilton:

I had published an Op-Ed in the San Francisco Chronicle about Cuba's New
Technology Initiative. One day I returned home to find a message on my
voicemail: "This is Ronald Hilton. Please call me at (his home number). I
would like to talk to you about your Cuba article." I immediately returned
the call, which was answered by an Englishwoman (who I subsequently
discovered was Mrs. Hilton). When I introduced myself as "Dr. Ashby," Mrs.
Hilton said: "Are you the dentist? Ronald's been having trouble with his
teeth!" After convincing her that I was not able to help with the
dentistry, I spoke with Ronald. He had read my Op-Ed and spent hours
tracking me down through the Chronicle's editorial department. I had a
delightful visit at his home a few days later, and we became friends. As
Rob Gaudet said, Ronald was a hero. He was also a mentor and an example to
all of us that intellectual courage - which Ronald had in abundance - is one
of mankind's greatest virtues.

I am grateful to Ronald Hilton for introducing me to Rob Gaudet and to
Cameron Sawyer, both of whom I greatly admire.


From Jaqui White (US):

Words cannot describe my profound sorrow. I have always known that Ronald
Hilton was immortal. He was my first professor when I entered Stanford, and
my last, when I graduated in his discipline, Hispanic American Studies,
therefore he has been a dear and integral part of my life since I was
seventeen. He undoubtedly is the most brilliant man any of us shall ever
know. His wisdom and humor were legend - eloquent, erudite, and articulate
could only be described as understatements when speaking of Professor

Ronald sent his Testament on the 4th of September, 2006, mentioning his
feeling about The Holy Spirit, followed by his missive of the 7th of
February, 2007, just two weeks ago, in which he mentions that he feels that
religion is the most important thing in life. I feel these two letters,
written after tremendous thought, were his final gift to us.

So, our beloved Ronald Hilton is immortal, because he will remain in our
hearts forever. I am eternally and overwhelmingly grateful to have known
him. We send our deepest love to Mary and Mary and John Huyck.


JE: My warmest greetings to the WAIS community. Phyllis Gardner
informed me that Prof. Hilton has been cremated, and his ashes will be
cast upon the gardens of his beloved Stanford home, The Hesperides. I
can think of no other place where he would prefer to spend eternity,
than this mythical garden paradise at the western corner of the world.
The Hesperides (the real one, not the Classical Greek one) was the
place he called home for over fifty years.

Here are the tributes to Prof. Hilton that came in overnight:


From Yasmeen Hussain (France):

I was very saddened to hear of Professor Hilton's passing. I met him
only once, but he left a lasting impression of brilliance, dignity,
and charisma. I greatly enjoyed reading his well-written, insightful
posts. He is missed. Please extend my sincere condolences to his


From Sandy and Steve Torok (Thailand):

I [Steve] was out of action because of this year's flu since the 16th,
and then this: Ronald has left us! I shall certainly miss him as a
father figure, and hope that we can follow his advice to make a
peaceful and better World! Reqiesqant in Pace, Pax, Lux et Veritas!


From Siegfried Ramler (US):

A meaningful way to honor and celebrate Ronald Hilton's legacy would
be to dedicate the next WAIS conference to his life and
contributions. The theme of the conference would reflect the breadth
of his interests with presentations by WAIS participants, perhaps
also including personalities who have been touched by Ronald in
significant ways. A planning group might develop a theme and an
appropriate range of topics, designed to stimulate wide
participation. Would it be feasible to target the summer of 2008 for
such a conference at Stanford, allowing for some space since the last
conference in 2006 and some time for preparation? Comments would be

JE comments: I heartily endorse Siegfried Ramler's proposal. We had
tentatively proposed a WAIS conference for the summer of 2008. China
had been discussed as a possible venue, and could still be a good
choice, but Palo Alto would undoubtedly be a more fitting place to
celebrate Prof. Hilton's legacy and contributions to humanity. I
propose that a committee be established as soon as possible. I of
course will serve on it, and will be glad to use the "bully pulpit" of
the editorship to promote the conference. Is anyone willing chair the
committee? Step forward via e-mail! It would be a huge commitment,
but as Siegfried says, there could be no better way to honor Prof.


JE: These tributes to Prof. Hilton came in this morning:

From Les Robinson (US):

What a shock to get back from a visit in Phoenix to learn that
Professor Hilton had passed away! One had the impression that he
would live forever. As his body aged one would have expected him to
be doddering but he remained mentally sharp and alert all the way
through his twilight years. When I gave him a forlorn Don Quijote
figurine for his 95th birthday, he joked: "That looks like me!" I
assured him that Don Quijote, like Mr. Hilton himself, never gave up
but was always looking for the next challenge.

I am reminded of George Burns' response to a standing ovation he
received when at 97 he hobbled on to the stage. He noted that usually
such ovations are given at the end of a performance and quipped: "You
must think I won't last that long." Professor Hilton also was made to
know early on that he was held in high regard even as his health began
to fail, but how gratifying even so to read the extensive tributes to
him that have appeared on WAIS since his death.

Ronald Hilton's intellectual insight and experience have been an
inspiration to me for many years, starting with the years when he was
my professor at Stanford so long ago. I am grateful for all the
valuable graduate student experience he gave me as I wrote for and
helped edit the *HISPANIC-AMERICAN REPORT*. He continued to be a
father figure as he abetted my career, and I have further enjoyed
keeping in contact with him through the WAIS forum, where his pungent
comments always delighted. I truly hope that I shall be able to
attend his memorial service at Stanford, where I wish to extend
personally my condolences to the charming Mrs. Hilton as well as to
her daughter Mary and her family.

From Mike DeLong (US):

May LADON, the never sleeping, hundred-headed Dragon, protect the
professor in the garden for eternity.

As the newest WAIS member I was slow to respond to the tragic news
of the Professor passing; but with no less sadness nor condolences. My
father died just a few months ago and the memories are tough. My
thoughts and prayers go out to his family and WAIS members.


From Robert Whealey (US):

To add one more voice to the condolences, I've only known Ronald Hilton
about three or four years. He discovered me when I wrote a review on the
Spanish Civil War. He invited me to join WAIS. I discovered him to be
more liberal than I had been led to believe. I don't know much about Latin
America, but enjoyed Ronald Hilton's insights about Spain, Germany and
Britain in the crucial decade of the 1930s.

I also discovered that a liberal Episcopalian has much in common with a
conservative Unitarian. We both, unlike the militant, certain atheists,
saw that ethics and morality underscores all historical research. The
question for today, is why any American or European would risk his/her life
in the tribal conflicts of the Middle East? The West can buy oil cheaper
than it can be stolen.

When I joined WAIS, Prof. Hilton seemed to be an enthusiastic supporter of
Blair's invasion of Iraq. As time went on, he shifted more and more to the
point of view of the war critics. Debate is the oxygen of democracy.

JE comments: It is appropriate in this message that we have heard
from one of the senior WAISers, Les Robinson, and the juniormost
WAISer, General Mike DeLong, who will forever remain the final person
admitted by Prof. Hilton (just last week). Future members of our
organization will know Prof. Hilton by his legacy and reputation only.
This is sad.

Alejo Orvañanos is the latest to write in memory of Professor Hilton:

I am very, very sad to learn about Professor Hilton ´s passing.
Although we never met personally, I certainly know we had become
friends, and sometimes we corresponded at the personal level, in his
perfect Spanish. Reading his posts for several years became a daily
habit and his warm and wise comments, lessons in life and living will
certainly be missed. Please convey my condolences to his family, as
well as to all WAISers. I will remember him always, and feel that we
all owe him a debt of gratitude. May God bless Ronald Hilton, who led
a super rich life and leaves an enormous legacy.


David Pike recalls these anecdotes from his long friendship with

I knew Professor Hilton very, very well over 46 years. A few
ago he wrote to me asking if I would agree to become
Vice-President, and to take the presidency of WAIS when he died. You
imagine in what agony I replied that I could not accept, that
among the
virtues he taught or re-taught me was that of fulfilling
undertaken and promises made. There were so many critical
moments I recall,
beginning at Bolivar House in the early 1960s, when
some of those at
Stanford responsible for destroying his
world-renowned institute should
blush even in the grave. What measure
of a man it was, that Professor Hilton
just crossed the street and
opened another institute.

He meant the whole
wide world to me, wherever we were, in Europe or
California. The Wild Bull
of the Campus made me his Executive
Assistant soon after I arrived at
Stanford in 1961, and he would say
to me, in one of our frequent fights,
he'd known all types in his
career but none as obdurate as me. (Nor I, you,
I would say, under my
bated breath.) Mamie may remember how she found me
once at midnight at
her front door she was coming home, and I was delivering
the Bolivar
House mail to his letterbox in time for his workstart at 3 a.m.
I keep
a specially fond memory of the 1996 Stanford Conference on War
and War Criminals, which he and I co-produced. It was a time when
served as one of WAIS's three Vice-Chairmen, and at the start of it
said, 'If anything happens to me, remember, it's your show.' I just
on praying to God, and it worked.

JE comments: And it's our show now, for
the 2008 RH Memorial
Conference. Thank you, David Pike, for sharing these


From France, Ilya Platov writes:

I would like to express my deepest condolences to Ronald Hilton's family.
Even though I have never personally met Prof. Hilton, from his various
contributions to WAIS he appeared to me as a very kind man--a quality that
he carried all through a horror-filled century, a quality we still all need
today. I now deeply regret that I never had the chance to know him more
intimately. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.

JE comments: We have our work cut out for us to honor Prof. Hilton's
memory. The 2008 Conference, the planning of which will remind us each day
of Prof. Hilton's huge efforts in making earlier WAIS conferences happen,
will be exactly what he would have wanted us to do. Of course, our on-line
conversations are even more important, as they are daily testimonies to his


Steve Torok writes with this proposal:

In addition to the 2008 Conference, a commemorative volume of scholarly
writings by his friends dedicated to Prof. Hilton, with a tentative title
Pax, Lux et Veritas, could be produced, with the 2008 Conference
contributing to its contents....

JE comments: I second this idea. We must start finalizing our initial
plans (what an oxymoron!) for the 2008 Conference. I have received a
generous offer of help from Bienvenido Macario. Who else will lend a hand?
If we are going to meet in Palo Alto, we need a Stanford insider or two to
help make things happen. China is still a possibility for a meeting
location, however.


Istvan Simon forwards the obituary published in the *New York Times*
on February 24, which has some interesting details about the role
Professor Hilton played in the Cuban crisis and the Bay of Pigs


Ronald Hilton, 95, Scholar of Latin America, Dies

Published: February 24, 2007
Ronald Hilton, an influential scholar on Latin America who played a
role in uncovering secret preparations for Cuban exiles' invasion at
the Bay of Pigs, died Tuesday at his home on the Stanford University
campus, in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 95.

The death was announced on the Web site of the World Association of
International Studies, which Professor Hilton founded in 1965, and was
confirmed by his daughter, Mary Huyck of Greenwich, Conn.

It was in November 1960 that *The Nation* published an article about
United States efforts in Central America to prepare for what would
become the Bay of Pigs invasion the following spring. The magazine
attributed crucial information to Professor Hilton, then the director
of the Institute of Hispanic American Studies at Stanford, who had
just returned from a research trip to Guatemala. Professor Hilton told
an editor at the magazine that it was an open secret in Guatemala that
the Central Intelligence Agency had set up a base there for training
Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro.

Years later, Clifton Daniel, managing editor of The New York Times,
said in a speech that the report by Professor Hilton and The Nation
had spurred the newspaper to undertake its own investigation of the
training base. The Times then published several articles about the
impending attack, which would end in disastrous failure. Part of one
of those articles, which appeared in the paper a week before the
invasion began, was withheld on national security grounds at the
request of the Kennedy administration, a decision that editors later
said they regretted.

In an academic career that began in the 1930s and was spent mostly at
Stanford, Professor Hilton mixed a dispassionate study of politics
with a zest for tackling the most politically charged issues of his
day. He was particularly drawn to research on Cuba and the Castro
revolution, which, he warned, was far more likely to bring seismic
political shifts than had initially been believed.

Fiercely independent and intellectually tireless, he was involved in
many projects from his home base on the Stanford campus. In the 1940s
he broadcast news into Latin America over a local radio station. In
1944 he founded the Institute of Hispanic American Studies and
published the institute's independent Hispanic American Report, a
monthly journal of reports and essays about the region.

When The Times declined in 1962-63 to publish controversial accounts
about Cuba by one of its correspondents, Herbert L. Matthews, who was
thought to have grown too close to the Cuban revolution, Professor
Hilton agreed to publish them in The Hispanic American Report.

The Report suspended publication in 1964 after Professor Hilton, known
for his outspokenness, resigned as director of Hispanic-American
studies in a dispute with Stanford over issues of academic freedom. He
then founded the World Association of International Studies, which he
oversaw for the rest of his life, and began publishing The World
Affairs Report, one of the first journals available on the World Wide
Web. He became a visiting fellow of the conservative Hoover
Institution, at Stanford, in 1987.

Professor Hilton also edited several books, including the seven-part
"Who's Who in Latin America" and "The Life of Joachim Nabuco," about
Brazil's first ambassador to the United States, which he also
translated from the original Portuguese.

Ronald Hilton was born in Torquay, England, in 1911. He received his
B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University and lived in Spain during the
Spanish Civil War, whose outcome left him with lasting concerns about
the effects of totalitarianism.

In 1939, he married a fellow student, Mary Bowie, while both were
enrolled in graduate studies at the University of California,
Berkeley. He became a United States citizen in 1946.

Professor Hilton is survived by his wife and daughter.

JE comments: I am sitting in the JFK airport as I write these lines,
on my way to Santo Domingo, and I have just picked up a copy of
today's *NYT*. Professor Hilton's obituary appears on the back page
of section "C." Anthony DePalma, who I understand met Prof. Hilton
about a month ago to discuss the Bay of Pigs episode, did a fine job
of honoring our founder.


WAIS Treasurer Fred Hansson writes, with the following information on
where to send contributions in memory of Professor Hilton:

Should anyone want to make a memorial donation, the Hilton family
has requested it go to support WAIS. Please send the checks
to my home so I can get them deposited:

Fred Hansson
166 Burbank Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403

JE comments: I presume that the checks should be made out to "WAIS."
WAIS was Professor Hilton's passion, and we know that he was equally
passionate about its (financial) care and feeding. (How often did we
read the familiar "WAIS Appeal" e-mail from Prof. Hilton--probably
once a week?) Sadly, we no longer will be sending our checks to the
familiar "766 Santa Ynez" address. I will also be speaking with Fred
Hansson about setting up a PayPal account to facilitate the financial
transaction for international WAISers.


Mike Bonnie writes:

Following the 2006 conference Prof. Hilton invited members
to his home to socialize, reflect on the conference
and discuss plans he had for the group. I feel certain this was one
of several conversations where he revealed his heart and vision for
the well-being of WAIS. It will remain without doubt one of the most
memorable occasions. At the meeting Ronald asked that I work toward
organizing the 2008 conference in China. It's breaking my heart that
he will not we not see China as I've seen it. I'll be in Hangzhou
again this summer, and there is a slim possibility that being there
could convince Zhejiang University to host. I'll recommit to
following that plan or certainly work with whomever wishes to
participate in a more solid idea. Wherever the 2008 conference is
held, I'm certain Ronald will be there in spirit and our hearts will
reach out to him.

JE comments: I was at the August gathering at Prof. Hilton's home, together
with Mike Bonnie and his wife Shanhui, Siegfried Ramler, Harry Papasotiriou,
Steve and Sandy Torok (I believe), and several others whom I've overlooked
(my apologies). If I had known that it was the last time I would ever see
Prof. Hilton, I would have stayed to chat a bit longer! As Mike points out,
Prof. Hilton had the idea for several "regional" WAIS conferences, with the
first to be held in China. He also asked me to organize a future event in
Cuernavaca, Mexico, where I help to run a study-abroad program. A European
venue was also discussed. I sense in my heart that Prof. Hilton knew very
well that he would not be travelling to any of these exotic locations, but
still he dreamt big. What is the point of all my reminiscing? I think the
China venue would be the perfect place to honor Prof. Hilton's memory, as it
would underscore the "World" of our "World Association," and it would be in
line with Prof. Hilton's wishes.

(A note): Tomorrow morning (February 24), I will be leaving brutally early
for five days in the Dominican Republic (primarily in the capital, Santo
Domingo). I will have my laptop in tow, and am fairly confident that my
"tropicalized" WAIS editing will continue without a hitch. However, there
is a small possibility that I will be unable to edit many posts tomorrow.
Pax et lux.

For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS),
and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by
simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/

John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA

Nushin Namazi
WAIS Webmaster
768 Santa Ynez
Stanford, CA 94305

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