Author Archives: maudeferguson

a tribute from Julie Friedman

As a white, Jewish girl at UCSC from 1979-1981, I was deeply influenced by Dr. Blake.  He is why I majored in Sociology, he is who inspired me towards a career in the non profit world, and it was he who taught me deeply about injustices in the world and the root causes.  From stories about his work on Daufuskie Island (which I was lucky to visit decades later), to his life with the Black Panthers, his life experience and academic training made him the most influential professor I had.  His personal connection with students was remarkable and he straddled the world of being a mentor, friend, father figure, and professor so well.

Julie Friedman


a tribute from Gwen Lacy

I was fortunate to have been a staff member at College 7, Oakes College, through Herman Blake’s years as Provost. He was a powerful presence in the college,  guiding students, faculty and staff in our common goals, forming a community of diverse individuals dedicated to these goals.  He broadened our ways of seeing and being, inspiring and motivating us.  It was not an easy time those early years, but when problems occurred he found ways to solve them, listening to and focusing on the needs and ideas of people involved.  He founded innovative methods of teaching, held faculty meetings and retreats focused on pedagogy.  In attending these I was inspired by the possibilities he opened up and by how much he cared about opening the way to the future for our students. He is a great teacher, not just in class, but in every way. Continue reading

a tribute from Nancy Coleman

J. Herman Blake has been an inspiration to me since I first met him in September 1966 when I arrived at UCSC for my freshman year.  While I was at Stevenson for the first two years and then moved to Merrill as junior I was always following Herman Blake’s dreams for students to interact with the communities around them.  Before Merrill opened in the fall of 1968 I worked with the Provost Philip Bell to evaluate ways that incoming Merrill students could provide mentoring to Santa Cruz high school students. Continue reading

a tribute from Roy Rajan

Dear Herman,

I will not be able to attend your tribute dinner because I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mexico. Yes, the Peace Corps does accept senior citizens like me theses days.  I still remember the first Oakes graduation in 1973 when it was still called College Seven.  My seven fellow graduating seniors and I were all proud to have been part of helping pull the college together, and it gives me great great joy to see the college still thriving today.  UCSC is not the same place it was in 1973, but the person I am today has been greatly influenced by my time at Oakes and my contact with you. Congratulations again  on this well-deserved tribute dinner.  You will be in my thoughts on Saturday night.

Roy Rajan

a tribute from Jack Young

Having read the abundance of tributes, Herman, I should not be the least bit surprised that my own sentiments are not alone.  The expression “profound experience” has surfaced intermittently, and it is as apt a descriptor as any I can associate with you.

Some have suggested that the UCSC experience helped shape me, but it’s also important to acknowledge the most influential of professors who offered guidance — not necessarily constant attention, just sound guidance — into adulthood.  Herman, you provided the means for me to come into adulthood with a developing consciousness for human justice, which in turn helped to mold a moral imperative as a steady frame of reference for viewing the world.  For the ensuing growth, I offer my heartfelt gratitude. Continue reading

please click here to send a tribute  Tributes received by April 25th will be printed and included in the Tribute Book to be presented to Prof. Blake at the dinner on April 27

a tribute from Stephanie Fein

I met J. Herman Blake during my sophomore year at Cowell in 1966 when I enrolled in his class on the family.  Suddenly I was thinking about content and concepts that interested me and within months I became a sociology major with Herman as my advisor.  Each class I took from Herman opened my eyes and my heart to the world.  Through him my world expanded to a summer program at San Mateo Junior College teaching reading to adults who had never learned to read and a semester observing and assisting in a junior high school in Hunter’s Point.  Next stop with Herman was to meet his students in the Junior Leadership program at Neighborhood House in North Richmond and where I would eventually spend my quarter in the Cowell Extramural  Education program and my first year after graduating from UCSC teaching reading and writing and living in the community. Continue reading

a tribute by Renee Kasinsky

Quite by coincidence, I was thinking of you today, googled your name and found out that you are being honored by your former students. In many ways I am probably one of your oldest students of life other than your daughters and maybe your brother Sidney. I will always cherish your generous support and attention you gave me in my Berkeley graduate days back in the early 60s. Continue reading