Renowned Alum, Lecturer Passes Away

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Distinguished UC Berkeley alumnus and former economics lecturer Joseph Slater died in his New York home last week of Parkinson's disease.

He was 80 years old.

Slater aided in the reconstruction of Germany after World War II, was a leading figure in the Ford Foundation and served as deputy assistant secretary of state during the Kennedy administration.

Slater served as president of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, which under his leadership became an important center for world leaders to meet and discuss issues such as environmental protection and arms control.

"He was one of America's great natural resources," said Sydney Hyman, a close friend of Slater's. "He had a great gift for bringing together men, materials and resources around ideas."

Hyman also spoke of Slater's qualities as a friend.

"He had a genius for friendship," Hyman said. "He'd always find a way to buck you up if you were feeling down. People who he made friends with he was friends with for life."

Slater also had a passion for classical music. A member of Carnegie Hall's board of directors, Slater played the piano and enjoyed listening to records, especially in the latter period of his life.

"(Classical music) was a soundtrack for his life," said Aaron Hurst, Slater's grandson. "He would wake up in the morning and listen to two hours of music, and would listen to two more hours of music before going to bed."

Despite a busy work schedule, Slater found time to spend with his family.

"I was constantly exposed to his values and his perspective of looking at the world," Hurst said. "Everything I'm doing now is because of him."

Slater's daughter, Sandra, spoke of his qualities as a father.

"He was an extraordinarily attentive father, when he was around," Slater said. "He took tremendous joy in sharing his work with his family. No question I went into environmental work because of my father."

Slater was also a devoted UC Berkeley alumnus.

"He really, really loved Cal," Hurst said. "He saw Cal as (bringing) together a great diverse people in terms of background and interests. Whenever he talked about world-class organizations, Cal was always at the top of his list."

Slater is survived by grandchildren, Aaron Hurst, Tara Hurst, Liana Elliott, Jason Elliott, daughter Sandra Slater and wife Annelore Slater.


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