Posted March 8, 2000
Former University Medalist Carl Ryanen-Grant, an administrative assistant in the Bancroft Library who coordinated the events and outreach programs and assisted Bancroft in nearly every area of administrative support, died Monday, Feb. 28, after a long struggle with malignant melanoma.
Ryanen-Grant began working at Bancroft in Aug. 1998. His association with the library began even earlier, as a Berkeley undergraduate, when he served as a student work leader in Inter-Library Services. Ryanen-Grant's undergraduate career was nothing short of stellar. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and was an Alumni Scholar as well as a member of the Dean's List. He also served as director of the Cal in Berkeley Student Internship Program, which recruits students for placement in local government or community internships.
He maintained a 4.0 grade point average, even after his melanoma diagnosis in Jan. 1996. Ryanen-Grant graduated in 1997 with a degree in history and the university's highest honor, the University Medal, awarded each year to the most distinguished graduating senior. Speaking at the commencement convocation, he jokingly referred to himself as keynote speaker Bill Cosby's "opening act." For a time, Ryanen-Grant was a minor celebrity, with local newspaper and television interviews, an appearance in People magazine, and a featured appearance as NBC News' "Person of the Week."
Despite the attention, Ryanen-Grant maintained a sense of balance and remarkable maturity. When asked how he managed to walk away with the Class of 1997's top academic honor, he replied in an interview with the Berkeleyan: "The irony is I'm much more content with my life than I was before. I now know what's important in the grand scheme: basically, solid and fulfilling relationships. My mother, for example -- we now see each other all of the time, we talk on the phone almost every day, she drives me to the doctor. This has reinvigorated our relationship. Which doesn't mean that essays and classes and tests aren't important, but they exist in a limited sphere. I realized that in five or ten years, it's not going to matter one whit whether I got an A or a B on a particular French examination, say, but my friends, this community, will affect my happiness for the balance of my life."
Peter Hanff, deputy director, Bancroft Library, says that "all who had the privilege of working with Ryanen-Grant were aware of his inherent graciousness, his wry sense of humor and his good-spirited participation in every area of his activities. We will miss him deeply, but consider ourselves tremendously fortunate to have been his friends and co-workers."
In addition to his mother, Nancy Ryanen-Grant, Carl Ryanen-Grant is survived by his father, David Grant, of Alameda.
Ryanen-Grant and his mother made plans for a Celebration of Life in his honor and memory. The gathering will take place at 2 p.m., March 12, at the Great Hall of the Faculty Club. Friends will speak briefly; others who wish to share some of their experiences with Ryanen-Grant will also have the opportunity to do so. A reception at the Faculty Club will follow.
Marion Lentz, manager of industry research, Sponsored Projects Office, died in Walnut Creek of inflammatory breast cancer, Feb. 26. She was 59.
Lentz was manager of industry research for 19 years. She enjoyed sewing, cooking, puzzles, California wines, and Cal athletics. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Marion lived in Walnut Creek for 25 years.
She is survived by her husband of 37 years, Bud; son Mark Lentz, and daughter-in-law Cindy; daughter Laurie Rades, and son-in-law Paul; sister, Barbara Bennett; and three grandchildren. Services were held at Hull's Walnut Creek Chapel, March 1.
Memorial gifts can be made to Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation, c/o Shelda Duff, Mikunda, Cottrell & Co., 3601 C Street, Suite 600, Anchorage, AK 99503, (www.ibcresearch.org/donationform.htm).
Undergradute Sharon Lee, an African American Studies major in the College of Letters and Science, died Feb. 2. She was 45.
George Lenczowski, a former professor and an expert on Middle East politics, died Saturday, Feb. 19. He was 85.
Lenczowski, who had a long battle with heart disease, died at his home in Berkeley.
He was born in 1915, in St. Petersburg, Russia, to Polish parents. Lenczowski was educated in Poland, France and England, obtaining a doctorate degree at the University of Lille, France, in 1937.
He served as a diplomat for the government of Poland and as a specialist for the U.S. Department of State before joining the faculty in 1952.
"He knew mid-Eastern heads of state, he knew everyone," said Laurence Michalak, vice chairman of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. "He was friendly with the royalty of Iran, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He was a big, tall man with a Polish accent. He had a very courtly manner. He was very, very polished and very well liked."
During the mid-1960s, Lenczowski served as vice chairman of the university's political science department and was among the nation's first major scholars of the modern Middle East.
He wrote numerous books and scholarly articles including, "The Middle East in World Affairs," first released in 1952 and translated into Arabic, Persian and Chinese.
"Well into the '80s, it was the standard textbook on Middle East politics, and it's still, to this day, a very useful reference book," said Michalak. "I use it all the time."
Lenczowski's last book, "American Presidents and the Middle East," was released in 1990.
Twenty scholars from various countries compiled a book of essays in his honor in 1988. The book, "Ideology and Power in the Middle East: Essays in Honor of George Lenczowski," addressed critical issues facing the Middle East.
David Gardner, then UC president, wrote in the book's foreword: "The quality and scope of his contributions to a better understanding of the Middle East, and particularly a better understanding of its international relations, its revolutions, and the crucial role of oil, have earned him the compliment of this volume of essays by leading scholars in the field from the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East."
Lenczowski retired from Berkeley in 1985. Robert Scalapino, a professor emeritus who worked with Lenczowski for decades, has fond memories of him.
"I always admired George for his very strong integrity," said Scalapino. "He had values, and he lived by them, and that was apparent to everyone who knew him.
"He was well regarded by his colleagues in the department and in the country for his work on the politics of the Middle East and East Europe."
Lenczowski first arrived in the United States in 1945 and became a U.S. citizen in 1951. He was a career officer for the Polish Foreign Service from 1938-1945, stationed in Germany and the Middle East. Following his work with the Polish Foreign Service, he joined the U.S. Department of State as a specialist in its International Broadcasting Division.
Lenczowski also worked as a consultant, advising such clients as Standard Oil, Radio Free Europe and public relations firms on political problems in the Middle East.
He is survived by his two sons, Hubert, of Oakland, and John, of Washington, D.C.; and four grandchildren. A memorial mass was held Feb. 25 at Newman Hall Roman Catholic Church in Berkeley.