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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / March 

In memoriam: Herman Doswald, dean emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences

March 8, 2018

Herman Doswald
Herman Doswald

Herman Doswald, a Virginia Tech professor and dean emeritus, died on Jan. 8, 2018. He was 85.

Doswald served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, now the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the College of Science, from 1987 to 1994.

He began his teaching career in 1959 as an instructor at Oberlin College, the University of Washington in Seattle, and Seattle University. Before arriving at Virginia Tech in 1979, he was an assistant professor and an assistant head of the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Then he held a tenured position at the California State University at Fresno, followed by one at Kent State, where he was also head of the Department of German and Russian.

During his career at Virginia Tech, Doswald served as a professor, department head, and dean. From 1979 to 1984, he was the head of what is now the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. At the College of Arts and Sciences, he served as an associate dean from 1984 to 1986, interim dean in 1986, and then dean until 1994. Doswald continued as a professor of German until his retirement in 1996. Virginia Tech later granted him emeritus status as both professor and dean.

Upon retirement, Doswald continued to teach German to children at the New Vista Montessori School in Roanoke, Virginia, and to teenagers at the Community High School in Roanoke.

Doswald received a bachelor’s degree in German from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his doctorate in German language and literature from the University of Washington in Seattle. During his undergraduate years, he also studied at the University of Munich on an Adenauer Scholarship and then at the University of Vienna on a Fulbright Fellowship. From 1962 to 1964 he was on active duty as an infantry officer in Worms, Germany. 

Doswald is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter Caroline and her husband, Sanjaya Wijesinghe, and their sons, Joshua and Noah; and daughter Stephanie and her husband, Dan Sebolt, and their sons, Alex, Max, and Nicholas.

Written by Leslie King

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