RIP Dorie Friend 1931-2020

Dear members of the Eisenhower Fellowships global family,

I am saddened to report that President Emeritus and longtime Trustee Dorie Friend passed away peacefully yesterday after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family. He was 89.

Theodore Wood Friend III was president of Eisenhower Fellowships from 1984 to 1996, a period that saw many changes within the organization. A distinguished historian of U.S. foreign policy and the Pacific Rim, Dorie was an accomplished educator, author and novelist. He had served as President of Swarthmore College and previously taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His experience in the administration of these not-for-profit institutions, coupled with his informed international outlook, equipped him well to lead Eisenhower Fellowships into a promising new era marked by innovation, new programs and a number of strategic initiatives that strengthened the organization's operations and fundraising. But his tenure didn’t begin that way.

In 1982, EF co-founder Thomas McCabe, father of current Trustee Jim McCabe, persuaded Dorie to join the Eisenhower Fellowships Board, recalls Trustee Emeritus Keith Wheelock. Two years later, Dorie was invited to become EF president. As Dorie described it to Keith, his mandate was simple: 1) re-invigorate EF or 2) close EF down.

With EF on weak financial footing, Dorie immediately set about securing funding for the organization. Within his first year, Dorie was able to secure a grant of $1.5 million from Congress. Grants in the same amount were authorized for the subsequent four years. These grants paid for program expenses, allowing Dorie to raise funds from the private sector to establish a long-sought endowment fund.

During his second year as president, EF’s Board leadership changed as former President Gerald R. Ford stepped down and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld became the Chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships. With this transition, new objectives were set for a five-year strategic plan to be implemented from 1986 to 1990.

The plan aimed to triple the annual number of Fellows to a total of 50. Part of this expansion would come through a new fall program, the Single-Nation Program, and more Fellows would also participate through a redesigned and freshly launched USA program, which at that time had not hosted an American Fellow for more than two decades, since 1963.

The final objective in the strategic plan, an ambitious capital fund drive, was also set in motion. The Eisenhower Centennial Challenge campaign aimed to raise $5 million from private donors by the time of late President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1990 centennial. Thirty years after launching that capital campaign and his new strategic plan, Dorie was an influential voice in the three-day strategic retreat the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees held in 2016 to debate and approve EF’s current strategic plan.

As EF president, Dorie brought to the United States the first Eisenhower Fellows from several countries, including the People’s Republic of China, El Salvador, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. After a hiatus of 25 years, Guatemala and Iraq once again participated in the fellowship program during those years.

During Dorie’s tenure, EF saw the purchase of its first computer in 1986. This was quickly followed by a fax machine in 1987, revolutionizing Eisenhower Fellowships’ worldwide communications, while program officers began using customized software to generate Fellows’ schedules. 

Dorie graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in 1953 and from Yale University with a Ph.D. in 1958. Dorie served as President of Swarthmore College from 1973 to 1982 and was Chair of the review panel for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. In 2004, he served as the C.V. Starr Distinguished Visiting Professor of Southeast Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. and was a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Dorie was an elegant writer and world-class scholar who authored several books. His first, Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 1966 from Columbia University for distinguished books about diplomacy and the history of the Americas. He also wrote The Blue-Eyed Enemy: Japan Against the West in Java and Luzon in 1988, Indonesian Destinies in 2003 and a novel, Family Laundry, in 1986.

In 1997 Eisenhower Fellowships awarded Dorie the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service and he was named President Emeritus.

Dorie received numerous other awards and honors. He was a Fulbright Scholar (Philippines 1957-59); a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in International Relations (1961-62); an NDEA Post-Doctoral Fellow for study of Indonesian language (1966-67); a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in Indonesia, Philippines and Japan (1967-68). He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Williams College (1978) and was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1983-84) and at the Rockefeller Center for Artists and Scholars in Bellagio (1988).

Dorie stayed extraordinarily engaged in foreign policy issues throughout his life. He served on the Board of Advisors of the United States-Indonesia Society. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the American-Indonesian Interreligious Initiative and of the Board of Directors of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. He was Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Committee on Foreign Relations and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. Up until his death, Dorie served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships. 

On a personal note, Dorie was an invaluable repository of institutional knowledge and wisdom about Eisenhower Fellowships, a sage guide through the often delicate dynamics of this small but complicated organization. On countless occasions he generously helped me with his thoughtful counsel. Similarly, Keith Wheelock remembers Dorie as a wise mentor.

“Dorie was a cherished friend,” Keith wrote last night after receiving the news of Dorie’s passing. “His modest manner and brilliant scholarship, together with his clear-eyed vision and inspired leadership, made him beloved and respected throughout the EF family….Dorie was a warm-hearted, multi-faceted humanist. I shall miss him profoundly.

That sentiment is shared across the EF family today.

"Please know that Dorie loved the Eisenhower Fellowship and the work you do so tirelessly to make the world a better place," said Mary French, his longtime friend and companion.

On behalf of the Eisenhower Fellowships Board of Trustees and the entire EF global family, we extend our profound condolences to Mary and the Friend family. A private service for the family is planned. 

All best,

George de Lama|President
Eisenhower Fellowships