Channing Richardson Dies

Comfort and Channing Richardson
Comfort and Channing Richardson
Channing Richardson, professor of international affairs emeritus, died on March 22. A member of the faculty for 31 years, Channing received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Upon arriving at Hamilton in 1952, he taught courses in international affairs, African politics, American foreign policy and international law, and the African novel.

Richardson pursued his interest in politics and international affairs, especially as they related to Africa and the Middle East, well into retirement. For an article in the Summer 2003 Alumni Review, he revealed that he was still "giving talks from time to time, mostly on the Middle East." And "I'm reading a lot on the Islamic religion."

Richardson and his wife Comfort, who had been coordinator of sports activities at Kirkland College from 1969 to 1978 and subsequently helped create the women's sports program at Hamilton, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in the fall of 2008. Their contributions to Hamilton were recognized earlier this decade with the establishment of the Channing B. and Comfort Cary Richardson Fund, which provides "support for innovative faculty endeavors and curricular programs that strengthen the educational experience of students." Attesting to the affection many had for the couple, the fund is one of the most widely supported and largest of its kind at Hamilton, according to Acting President Joe Urgo. The initial impetus for this fund came from the Richardsons' neighbors, colleagues and long-time friends, Sidney and Eleanor Wertimer.

Reminiscing about his time at Hamilton, Richardson was quoted by the Alumni Review, "It was a beautiful life, and an important one. I don't think I could have stayed at doing anything else but that. The attitude and the quality of the students and the administration were of the highest, and that really made it wonderful."

Reflections on Channing Richardson

I took every course Prof Richardson offered and looked forward to each class. He was a man of high ideals and clear vision. I recall his identifying Mugabe as "a hoodlum" when the world press was calling the future president a hero. At least some of any success I have today as a Foreign Service Officer is because of how he taught me to think about international relations.
James Carouso '78

I spent 1961-2 on the hill as a Fulbright scholar from Germany. I will always be grateful to Channing Richardson for inviting me to come along with his government majors in Feb. '62 on what was then the Hamilton Week in Washington. We saw many important people, including President Kennedy (at a press conference) and Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa. It was an unforgettable experience for a young German.
Frank Bergmann
Professor of English and German
Utica College

I was in Prof. Richardson's International Relations class in his fourth year on the Hill. He was by far my favorite teacher at Hamilton. A natural teacher,intellectual and charismatic yet friendly and down to earth. And I really treasure the times whe I was invited with other classmates to his home for spirited discussions. I attribute my life long interest in politics and foreign policy to him and I am deeply grateful to him for that.
Jim Park

As we grow older, I've come to think that the single best thing anyone could ever say about us is this: "He changed my life." Professors at Hamilton do that daily in small ways, but sometimes large ways as well. Channing Richardson certainly changed mine. I came to the college in the fall of 1970, raised in rural upstate New York but full of the urge to see foreign lands. The first course I signed up for was Professor Richardson's Introduction to International Relations. The world opened, literally, to me. This was not "study;" he made it adventure. It was no accident that I followed his path, first by going on to grad school in foreign affairs and then becoming a correspondent for Newsweek. I wondered, from time to time, whether he might have read the magazine's reports on the fall of the Berlin Wall or the Balkans wars and recognized the byline of that rather reticent youngster in the front rows of his class. I write this from the 38th floor of the United Nations, in the Secretary-General's office, realizing that the person who put me on the road to this place was that fine professor from Hamilton. What a gift it was.
Michael Meyer '74

He was very kind, gracious, and approachable -- a friend to students and a fine teacher.
Jim Ricker '68

As I sit in my office here at Penn State's campus in Erie, the memory of Professor Richardson seems sharp and rich. It should! I teach political science(comparative and international) because he inspired me to want to teach. Shortly, I will go home to my wife, Monica, because Professor Richardson encouraged me to go to an international work camp in Spain where we met during the summer of 1967. When I think of someone devoted and mindful of others, Channing Richardson is not far. Hamilton is not far from me because of him.
Zach Irwin, '68

I loved Professor Channing Richardson's classes when I was at Hamilton between 1977 and 1981. He had a way of forcing us to think about the way our world would be formed by our generation and how it would appear in what was then, the future. And he turned out to be strangely prescient in his assessment of what was coming, helping us to foresee the rise of terrorist groups and the rebellion of the Islamic world. I have thought of him often in the intervening years and I can say that my thoughts about government and a New World Order were happily influenced by his erudite teaching.
Alyssa Ross Eppich

In 1956 I was about to graduate from Hamilton with a major in physics. I had just been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University and had not decided on my course of study there. I had a new found interest in philosophy, but thought it might be risky to abandon my study of physics at this formative stage of my career. I consulted Channing who said, "You are 22. If there is any time to explore new career interests, this is it." I went on to graduate study in philosophy but ended up with a career in university administration at Columbia University. My philosophy choice was wrong for me, but Channing's advice was absolutely right for me. He was a paradigm for the Hamilton faculty from whom we all learned so much.
Paul D. Carter, '56

I took several government courses from Prof. Richardson during my time on the Hill. I remember a winter study seminar which he graciously hosted at his house.I will forever be grateful to him for teaching me to think critically, to look at an issue from all sides, not just the side to which my previous experience and environment directed me. He helped me to open my mind to new and challenging ideas, and he did it with a quiet and gentle strength, using his personal experiences as background to his teaching. I cannot agree more with his own assessment of his life quoted in the notice of his passing. Hamilton was truly enriched by his presence.
William A. Monaghan iii '70

I can't think of a teacher who more exemplifies the individual care provided by the Hamilton faculty than Channing Richardson. I took his government course and loved it. And, even though he knew I was headed ultimately into a world of music, he helped me consider such post-Hamilton options as teaching abroad and the Peace Corps; he even helped me write letters of inquiry to sveral international colleges. Channing was an outstanding teacher and human being whom I remember with great fondness.
Keith Daniel, '69

I was a student in Prof. Richardson's last Intro to International Relations class. I remember his very last lecture before he retired (although it was not really his last lecture - I also took his first post-retirement class, Politics of Southern Africa, the following J-term). He had spent the semester opening the world to us, and convincing us that what happened around the globe should matter to us. In his closing words he reminded us to stay informed, and stay involved. He said "There is a vocation, or an avocation, for each of you in international relations." I often think of that as I read the news, and I have tried to live up to Prof. Richardson's expectation that I would always have an answer if I was the one he randomly called on and asked "what happened yesterday in Eastern Europe?"
Meg Newswanger '86

Channing Richardson was a true "gentle" man in the best and original sense of the word. He was also a thoroughly good man who never spoke ill of anyone. He and Comfort were an important, even pivotal, members of our community. I shall miss him deeply.
Douglas Raybeck
Professor of Anthropology Emeritus

Channing B. Richardson was my father in-law, and David J. Gray was my father. Both men were not only a father to me, but to other young minds at Hamilton College. They were devoted to Hamilton College for their careers, and most importantly because their souls believed in the true essence of higher learning. They touched the lives of so many with their intellect and wisdom. They both were proud and truly loved being professors at Hamilton College! Channing Richardson was an amazing man, with amazing grace!
Sharon and Grace Gray-Richardson

I love my Grandpa Channing forever and always! We loved to hold hands together and our grips were strong! I will miss him so much!
Grace Gray-Richardson


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