Hampshire Mourns the Loss of Longtime Faculty Member Leonard Glick

Dr. Leonard B. Glick, who went by Len, was dean of the former School of Social Sciences from 1972 to 1976 and continued teaching anthropology and Jewish history until 2002, when he retired. He died on January 9, 2024.
Glick offered courses on cultural anthropology, evolutionary psychology, ethnic conflict, and European Jewish history. His dedication to learning and teaching made a lasting impact on his students and other professors.
“Len was a great teacher, and many Hampshire students really appreciated his kindness, support, and broad scholarship,” said Professor of Film and Photography Abraham Ravett. “As a younger faculty person, I had the opportunity to co-teach a course with him on ethnographic and documentary film, which was attended by students from a variety of disciplines. It was a pleasure organizing the class with him, and throughout the semester we seemed to have had a certain kind of chemistry that allowed for spirited exchanges between the two of us as well as among the students.”
“Len was my Division II and Division III chair as well as a colleague and friend for many years,” said Emeritus Professor of History Aaron Berman 70F. “I learned how to teach from Len. He was exceptionally generous and patient with students and fully committed to Hampshire’s founding principles. I always learned something whenever I spoke with him. He read widely and his curiosity and passion for his subjects were contagious.”

“Some people are just born teachers. Len was that. He was giving and generous and utterly unpretentious. He was a true intellectual in the broadest sense of the word.”Aaron Lansky 73F

 “Hampshire was kind of the perfect place for Len, and he was perfect for Hampshire,” said alum Aaron Lansky 73F, founder of the Yiddish Book Center, for whom Len was both mentor and friend. “Some people are just born teachers. Len was that. He was giving and generous and utterly unpretentious. He was a true intellectual in the broadest sense of the word. He loved ideas, he loved books, he loved learning. He was fascinated by people and by human interactions. His range of knowledge was so wide that he could talk about anything. He was one of the most well-read people I’ve ever met. There’s a famous Yiddish story where the main character is describing his daughter and says, ‘She swallows books like stuffed cabbage.’ That’s what Len did — he swallowed books, and then he embodied them, and then he shared them. He never stopped teaching.”
Glick’s scholarly work focused on the history of Judaism. He wrote two notable books during his career: Abraham’s Heirs: Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe (Syracuse University Press, 1999) and Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2005), and contributed to several others. He later self-published a book of his academic insights.

Glick was a vocal supporter of Intact America, an organization dedicated to ending infant circumcision in this country.
Upon his retirement, Glick and his wife created the Nansi and Leonard Glick Library Endowment Fund, which supports the purchase of books and other resources in the area of social justice for women.
Glick earned his B.S. and his M.D. from the University of Maryland and began his career in internal medicine. (He was one of the doctors who gave Elvis Presley a physical exam when the singer entered the military.) Glick left the medical profession to study anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Ph.D.
In the early 1960s, Glick and his wife conducted ethnographic research among the Gimi, in the
Eastern Highlands of New Guinea. He taught anthropology at Bryn Mawr for a year, then at the University of Wisconsin, from 1965 to 1972, before arriving at Hampshire.

Leonard Glick, smiling
Leonard Glick, standing in his office doorway

Photos by Jim Gipe, courtesy of Hampshire College Archives

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