Frank Munk, 1901-99
Professor of political science emeritus and honorary alumnus Frank Munk died January 16 at his Portland home. He was 97.
Munk began his Reed career in 1939 as lecturer in economics when he arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from his native Czechoslovakia. He left Reed in 1941 and returned after the end of World War II as professor of political science, where he remained until his retirement in 1965. During the war, he was director of training for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and chief of the economic mission to Austria and Czechoslovakia.
While at Reed, Munk’s interest was international relations. He was dean of the Northwest Institute of International Relations from 1947 to 1956 and a founder and first president of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Munk also served as a regular commentator on global issues in the 1960s for CBS-affiliate KOIN-TV and as a frequent writer on politics for the Oregonian and the Oregon Journal.
"He regularly tried to bring Oregonians’ attention to the issues that were being debated at the time," said his son Michael Munk ’56, also a retired political scientist. "For all of his public life, he argued for the need for some kind of world system that would prevent violence and racial and ethnic conflict throughout the world."
He took leaves of absence to serve as adviser on intellectual cooperation to Radio Free Europe in 1958–60 and as senior research fellow of the Atlantic Institute in Paris in 1961–62. He was also research associate of the Foreign Policy Institute of the University of Pennsylvania from 1962 to 1967. On retiring from Reed, he joined the faculty of Portland State University until his second retirement in 1983.
Munk and his wife and children fled to Portland from Czechoslovakia in 1939 during the Nazi occupation. He was invited to Reed to lecture and teach. His publications included The Economics of Force (1940), The Legacy of Nazism (1943), Atlantic Dilemma (1964), and a 1993 memoir called My Century and My Many Lives.
In honor of Munk’s contributions to Reed, and of the affect on her life and learning, Reed alumna and trustee Martha Darling ’66 endowed the Munk-Darling lecture series on international relations in 1996.
Munk is survived by his wife of 73 years, Nadezda Prasilova, whose sister Vera was married to longtime Reed chemistry professor Arthur F. Scott; his son Michael ’56, of Portland; daughter Suzanne Ragen, of Seattle; and three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Other Reed relatives include daughter-in-law Suzanne Hanchett Munk ’62; nieces Kytja Scott Kemp ’54 and Nadja Scott Lilly MALS ’93 and her son David Autrey ’89 and his wife, Amy Wesselman ’91; nephew Ivan Vesely ’55 and his wife, Gloria Graham Vesely ’56, and son Alec Vesely ’90.
The family asks that contributions may be made to the Reed annual fund in honor of Frank Munk.