Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dudley E. DeGroot, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, 1927-2012

Dudley E. DeGroot

Sorry to hear of the passing of one of my undergraduate professors of anthropology, Dudley DeGroot, via an Eckerd College alumni email blast.


Eckerd College mourns the death of Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Dudley DeGroot, who came to Eckerd in 1965, retired in 1988 and continued teaching long after. Dr. Degroot, 85, died Friday, December 7, 2012, and is survived by his wife, Jeannette, his sons Bruce, David '74, and Neil, and his grandson, Will.

"As a member of the faculty during the College's formative years and a continued supporter spanning more than four decades, Dudley DeGroot has played a significant role in creating the Eckerd College of today," said Dr. Donald R. Eastman, President of Eckerd College. "He will be remembered as an academician, sports fanatic and world traveler whose understanding and appreciation of the human experience was evident in his interactions with those he encountered, most especially, Eckerd's students."

A fixture at Eckerd College Men's Basketball games, Dr. DeGroot loved student-athletes, often attending basketball practices and always encouraging the team to work hard; among the coaches and players, he was considered part of the team. In 2000, he was inducted into the Eckerd Tritons' Hall of Fame, and in 2006, his family established the Dudley DeGroot Endowed Scholarship for Men's Basketball.

Dr. DeGroot's education was intertwined with his love and talent for sports. He attended Stanford University in 1946, where he played football, rugby and was a member of the swimming team. He then attended West Virginia University from 1947-49, where he played baseball and football when his father Dudley Sargent DeGroot was head football coach there. In 1948, he was chosen All East and played in the East/West game. In 1949, his football team won the Rose Bowl. He earned his master's degree at the University of New Mexico and his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. Prior to pursuing this education, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 and served both World War II and the Korean War. He continued to serve 42 years in the Navy in active, reserve and ready reserve duty, retiring as a Rear Admiral.

An avid traveler, Dr. DeGroot trekked around the globe to learn about the human experience in Suriname, South America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Central America. Firmly convinced that anthropology has much to offer the non-academic world, throughout his career he was actively involved in applying the understandings of anthropology in governmental affairs, programs and problem-solving in developing nations and social change programs in the United States.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations for the Dudley DeGroot Men's Basketball Endowed Scholarship Fund. Contributions can be made on-line at or via U.S. mail. For questions about donations, please contact Tom Schneider at

The Memorial Service for Dudley DeGroot will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, December 15, 2012, in the Lounge at Westminster Suncoast at 1095 Pinellas Point Drive South in St. Petersburg, FL.

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