Deaths: Richard Ward, educator and administrator

Richard Ward

Richard H. “Dick” Ward. “There will never be another pioneer like Dick,” one colleague says.

Richard H. “Dick” Ward, 75, an international educator in the field of criminal justice and UIC’s longest-serving vice chancellor, died Feb. 17 at his home in Bethany, Connecticut.

memorial service will be held March 28, 3 to 6 p.m. in the UIC Forum.

During his time at UIC from 1977 to 1999, he also headed UIC’s baseball program for three seasons and helped transition UIC athletics to Division I competition.

“Dick had a great sense of adventure, passion and was the hardest-working person I have ever known. There will never be another pioneer like Dick,” said Jim Schmidt, UIC director of athletics.

Ward grew up in New York City and served in the Marines before joining the New York City Police Department, where he was a patrolman, youth investigator and detective until 1970.

During that time, he earned a master’s degree at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, then a Ph.D. in criminology at University of California, Berkeley.

Ward began teaching at John Jay in 1970, eventually moving into administration. In 1977 he joined UIC, where he was vice chancellor of administration for 16 years, then executive director of UIC’s Office of International Criminal Justice, which he founded.

He went to Sam Houston University in 1999 as dean of its College of Criminal Justice and associate vice president for research. In 2008, he was named dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, Connecticut. He became associate vice president for special programs and sponsored research in 2012.

Ward visited more than 50 countries and taught in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Best-selling author Peter May used Ward as a source for a crime novel set in China. “I took the liberty of basing one of my characters on Dick, using his ranch [in Texas] as a location — and I recall him taking exception to my description of the mess in his garage,” May said.

May recalled one of Ward’s stories about returning from Cuba and being waved through by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, a former student.

“Dr. Ward will be truly missed, but his legacy will continue through the efforts of the many students, staff and criminal justice officials throughout the world,” said Tonya McGowan, senior associate athletic director, who was mentored by Ward as a student.

Ward was inducted into the UIC Athletic Hall of Fame.

He wrote several books on crime and criminal justice, including Criminal Investigation: A Method for Reconstructing the Past with James W. Osterburg.

He is survived by his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Sophia. He has a son, Jon, and a daughter, Jeanne, by a previous marriage.

Editor’s note: Richard Ward joined UIC in 1977, not 1980 as originally reported.


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