Deborah J. Gerner Memorial Web Site

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[This text is from the program used at the memorial service at Oread Friends Meeting, Sunday 25 June 2006. I believe that Doug Crawford-Parker and Beth Schultz were responsible for putting it together, with assorted additional input from others.]

“Misty brought an incredible level of intensity and passion to all that she did—but most especially to her teaching. She consistently focused on her students as individuals, seeking out their talent and developing it and in the process forging close bonds that in many cases have led to continuing contact long after students have graduated from KU.”
Elaine Sharp, chair and professor of political science at KU

“Misty lived out her values. She was invested in the absence of war, in furthering peace, especially in the Middle East. She was traveling and engaged in her work until fairly recently because it was so very important to her.”
Alice Lieberman, KU professor of social welfare

“Deborah Gerner was a great and thoughtful scholar on the Palestinian question. She has inspired generations of students — both through her teaching and through her published works. Her book One Land, Two Peoples continues to be one of the very best introductions to the Palestinian-Israeli dilemma that there is. The experience of traveling with her in Israel and Palestine made me understand the depth of the esteem in which she was held by scholars and peace activists there.”
Helena Cobban, global-affairs columnist for The Christian Science Monitor and Al-Hayat, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies

“Misty moved toward the center of things with enormous passion, vitality and courage. She was so brave, so loving and so generous. She was, for me, a teacher in the best sense of the word.”
Harriet Lerner, clinical psychologist and bestselling author

Misty was born Jan. 5, 1956, in San Jose, Calif., the daughter of Henry and Dorothy Love Gerner. She earned a bachelor's degree from Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., in 1977 with a double major in peace and conflict studies and in religion. She received master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., in 1979 and 1982, respectively. She taught at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., before coming to KU. She also taught as a visiting professor at Northwestern University, Birzeit University on the West Bank and American University in Cairo, Egypt. She married Philip Schrodt—with whom she shared a long professional as well as personal partnership—on Jan. 15, 1984, in Evanston, Ill.

Misty, who spent more than 25 years studying, visiting and living in the Middle East, was an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Palestinian nationalism. The author of a textbook used widely in college classes on the Middle East, she taught about foreign policy; mediation, conflict resolution and crisis early warning; and human rights, ethnicity, democratization and gender. She was co-director of the Center for International Political Analysis at KU.

Misty came to KU in 1988 as an assistant professor of political science. She became an associate professor in 1991 and a full professor in 2001. She is credited with helping turn international relations, then a subfield of study, into a high profile and active program. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations and foreign policy and in comparative politics.

A member of the KU Women’s Hall of Fame, Misty received many awards including a Kemper Award for teaching excellence, Byron T. Shutz Award for distinguished teaching, the International Studies Association Ladd Hollist Award for outstanding service and the ISA's Susan Northcutt Award for outstanding service to women scholars. She also received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Earlham College. Misty was a member of the Oread Friends Meeting and devoted to Quaker causes of peace and social justice.

She was the author of three books: One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict Over Palestine (1994); Understanding the Contemporary Middle East (2000); and worked with other Quakers in writing When the Rain Returns: Justice and Reconciliation in Palestine and Israel (2004)

Misty died at home, surrounded by friends, as she wanted, after an eleven-year struggle with cancer.

Quotations used in the program

Misty had a number of quotations on her office door; these were the three we chose to put on the memorial program

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision—then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Audre Lorde

I don't know how my story will end. But that's all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, you don't conclude that the road has vanished. And how else could we discover the stars?
Ursula K. LeGuin

Measure of success:
- to laugh often and much
- to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
- to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
- to appreciate beauty
- to find the best in others
- to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a social condition
- to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

One final quote

This was the entry for 19 June 2006 on the Page-a-Day Zen Calendar Misty had on her desk at home:

“Just as there is no point of darkness in the sun, for the yogi, the universe and sentient beings are all deities, and he is fulfilled.”
Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol Rinpoche (1781-1851)

Last update: 3 October 2006


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