In Memory

Ernest Hankamer

We are very saddened to announce that Dr. Ernest W. Hankamer passed away in Bonn, Germany on June 8, 2016 following a brief illness.  A longtime and much admired overseas Marylander, Ernie was born in Germany and emigrated to the United States with his mother prior to World War II.

After having graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and having served in the U.S. Army, Ernie returned in the 1950s to Germany, in order as he often put it "To Find My Roots." Ernie subsequently completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Munich.

He joined Maryland’s European Division at the Munich Campus in the late 1960s and then served as the Area Director for the United Kingdom and Iceland from 1974 to 1988.  After a short period of retirement, Ernie was asked to return to UMUC service in 1992 as the founding Dean of UMUC’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Campus, a position he held until 1995.  Ernie taught philosophy and political science with the European and Asian Divisions for a number of years after his final retirement from senior administrative positions.  He is survived by his wife Frauke, their children Ben and Judy, and four grandchildren.

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06/30/16 07:39 AM #1    

Forrest Studebaker

Having known quite a lot of PhD's, a few of them actually philosophers, and having served with Ernie both in the UK and Germany, perhaps my "creds" bear some weight on those aspects of Ernie Hankamer.  As for all of the rest, neither academic credential nor 'ethnicity' can define Ernie's great spirit equally genuine and fine persona.  One could add a few anechdotes, but nothing to the essence of my rememberance of a very sympatisch collelague.  The finest thing is that we never lose the spirit.

06/30/16 08:28 AM #2    

Sara Roth

I concur with Forrest.  Ernie was the most 'sympatisch' of any other UMUC administrator with whom I had contact. I had looked forward to seeing him at the upcoming Gathering. My condolences to his family.

06/30/16 02:48 PM #3    

Linda Traenkle

My deepest sympathy to dear Frauke and the family. It is hard to imagine a world without Ernie. One of the finest men I have known. His kindness, sincerity, professionalism, honesty, and loyalty made him a treasured colleague. Ernie always had a smile and a word of kindness for everyone. I will never forget him and will always keep his memory in honor.

06/30/16 09:26 PM #4    

James A. "Jim" Moss

      Earlier this month when having lunch with Rosemary Hofmann at the UMUC-Largo cafetieria, I was very sad when she told me about Ernie's passing.  This was just a few days after attending the Alumni Leadership Forum at our alma mater St. John's College in Annapolis where I actually spoke about Ernie to a couple of his classmates (that was all who were there from the late 40s classes).  I told them that I would be seeing him in October and hoped to get him to our ALF next year.  Sadly, that will not come to be.

     Having always encouraged my students to avoid being repetitious, I will simply echo Forrest, Sara, and Linda:  They are right on with their praises of this wonderful man who was my director in the 80s when I taught in Iceland and England and my colleague when we met again in Hungary during the Balkan crisis.

    My condolences to Frauke who was also in Hungary and to their sons whom I hope someday to meet.

07/01/16 03:05 AM #5    

John Nolan

I am so sorry to hear of Ernie's death.  He and Frauke were frined in the late 90s, having lived  in the apartment in our house here in Cornwall while Ernie was teacing at St Mawgan, and followed me in John Habib's apartments in Brussels- I still chuckle when I think about our efofrts the day Frauke jammed the lock and had us all stuck out of the building!  But I really got to know Ernie after I became Academic Director at Heidelberg. Since by brief included philosophy, in which I was no expert, Ernie was brought in to serve as my advisor in the field- and what sage advice he provided. Far more than about just the field philosophy though.  He shaped my views about what UMUC Europe adminsitrators do ( and don't do) in many ways, and was always os generous with his time and energy.  I owe him a lot. he will be missed, and my sympathies go out ot Frauke and  their family.  

07/01/16 12:41 PM #6    

Richard Schumaker

I would like to extend my sympathies to Dr Ernest Hankamer's family.  Ernie contributed enormously to the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Maryland University College.  He brought deep humanity and exemplary knowledge of philosophy to teaching and learning at UMUC.  I first met Ernie in 1980 when I was teaching in the Italian Mezzogiorno (San Vito dei Normanni):  throughout many years he mentored me in a sensitive and rigorous way.  I remember perfectly the last time Ernie and I shared a "Maryland" dinner in Heidelberg.  It was around the turn of the century, and the university was transitioning to an online mode of instruction.  Not only did he have provocative insights into teaching philosophy online but also very clearly grasped that this new mode of discourse was itself a philosophical question with its roots in the Sophists and Aristotle.  After all, "Being is said in different ways."   I never forgot that conversation and certainly won't forget the intelligence, courtesy, and commitment to education of Dr. Ernest Hankamer.

07/02/16 12:07 PM #7    

Patrick Quinn

Ernie was the Area Director of the UK when I first joined Maryland. Through my years working with him, I saw a man comfortable in his job and a real humanist from every standpoint. During the years we became good friends and I learned a great deal about admin from him. Above all, he taught me to never forget that all people have a story to tell, and it was the administrator's job to listen to there stroy and to do all one could do to assist the people with whom one dealt with fairness and empathy. For me, that was Ernie's strength. He always listened and showed concern to his faculty. 

I will miss him dearly, and I trust all that had dealing with Ernie will never forget his genorosity of spirit and sense of humor. He was above all a humanist that had faith in the goodness of his fellow man. 

07/02/16 06:06 PM #8    

Deborah Tevis Noelting

I can't believe I won't be able to tell Ernie thank-you for making teaching at Schwäbisch Gmund a great experience. He was a fantastic founding dean and a real Mensch!

07/04/16 11:45 AM #9    

Albert Ashforth

I clearly remember my first meeting with Ernie, when he was still with the Munich Campus, year 1970. I had been working in the States but was interested in returning to Germany, where I'd served in the Army. Ernie took the time to explain what the Oerseas Program was and what I might be doing if I came to work for the University of Maryland. After returning to the States, I wrote a note thanking him, and I still recall his letter of response: "Hals und Beinbruch on the way back." He was a wonderful guy in every respect.

07/05/16 12:56 PM #10    

Joe Arden

I met Dr. Ernest Hankamer during academic year 1971-72 when he was teaching at the Munich Campus, and I was an Area Director/Academic Coordinator in Heidelberg.  In 1974-75, when he was appointed  "Area Director, U.K. and Iceland," he and I served together as Area  Directors...reporting to Ben Massey.

Then in 1981, when I became Director/European Division, Ernie and I again worked together as he served in his Area Director role until 1988.  When the Schwabish Gemund Campus was established in 1992, I took considerable being able to persuade Ernie and Frauke to relinquish their enjoyable 'retirement' lives, which saw the two of them travelling to xxx desirable locations to teach with Maryland and to instead become the first Dean of the S.G. Campus.  Ernie---with admirable assistance from Frauke, particularly in interacting with the local German community---served superbly in that role until again 'retiring' in 1995,  But, the classroom continued to beckon and for the next several years, Ernie taught...both in Europe and Asia.

Perhaps more than any other person with whom I interacted during my years with UMUC, Ernie was indeed "A Gentleman and a Scholar."  The University of Maryland was most fortunate that he was involved for so many years with UMUC.

My last interaction with Ernie was just a very few days before he passed away.  I had sent him a message in which called to his attention the upcoming October Heidelberg OMA Gathering.  He replied really by return mail...informing me that he and Frauke were greatly looking forward to coming to Heidelberg for the Gathering.  And, letting me know that, in fact, he had already registered.








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