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Robert Ian Scott ’53

A picture of Robert Scott

Robert Scott ’53 (right) in the old Reed coffee shop in 1953 with fellow Janus editors D. Marcus Beach ’54 and Marly Scholte ’54

Robert Ian Scott ’53, July 23, 2010, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, of complications from Parkinson's disease. A native of Berkeley, California, Rob earned a BA from Reed in literature and served as editor of the literary magazine Janus. In his senior year, he applied for a Fulbright grant to study in Australia. Notice of acceptance came after he completed an MA in English at Claremont McKenna College. By then, Rob and Karen V. Lund ’55 were married, and their first child—Dana G. Scott ’79—had been born. The three spent two years in Australia, first in Canberra, where Rob studied with Australia's leading advocate for the inclusion of Australian literature as an academic study and with Australia's leading male poet, A.D. Hope, and then in Perth, where Rob was a lecturer at the free University of Western Australia. Rob hoped to enter the PhD program at UC Berkeley upon his return to the U.S., but arrived one day too late to be accepted. Instead, he completed a doctorate at the University of Buffalo [SUNY] in New York, where he taught full time for nine years. His personal opposition to the Vietnam War prevented his advancement in academia, however, so Rob and Karen and their two young sons moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to pursue what he hoped would be a less politically compromised career. The provincial government of Saskatchewan pioneered universal health care in 1962—a social benefit that proved to be of special value in his family's life, and especially so for Rob, whose health began to fail by the time he retired from the University of Saskatchewan in 1997. Skilled in English, linguistics, and semantics, Rob helped write The Writer's Self Starter: A Transformational Rhetoric, the basis for Saskatchewan's curriculum program for grades 7-9. He used his own innovative text for three of his courses, The Specific Writer, for tersely organized English; Words and the World, for semantics; and The Experimental Linguist, for English structural linguistics as an experimental science with practical applications. “Rob's interests were varied and many of them were nurtured while a student at Reed, not only by the proximity of mountainous country and fellow astronomy enthusiasts, but also by the encouragement Reed offered to independent young minds,” Karen wrote. Rob also demonstrated his breadth of interest in his published work, such as “Entropy vs. Ecology in The Great Gatsby” and a series of poems patterned on Christian Morgenstern's Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs), which Rob dubbed The Mangliad. Said Karen: “He was always grateful for the Reed experience and stayed in touch with classmates Sydney Shoemaker ’53, his first roommate; Robert Lockhart ’53 and his wife, Ruthie Beadle Lockhart ’54; Dan Fletcher ’52; Charles Fosterling ’53 and Jesalee Keffeler Fosterling ’53; Gary Snyder ’51; and William Dickey ’51. Many others were fondly remembered.” He is survived by Karen and two sons. His second son, Ian, predeceased him. “Rob was a kind and decent man who will be lovingly remembered by those whose lives he touched.” We are greatly indebted to Karen for all that she shared for this memorial.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2010

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