Bardwell Smith

30 November 2022
Bardwell Smith

Bardwell Smith, age 97, died in Northfield on November 28. Bardwell was hired in 1960 to join Carleton’s recently formed Religion Department. He retired as the John W. Nason Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Emeritus, in 1996. He also served as the Dean of the College during a time of great change from 1967–1972 and then as the Director of Asian Studies from 1973–1977. Bardwell profoundly influenced generations of students and was a generous colleague to many who benefitted from his wise counsel, quick wit, and compassionate spirit.

Bardwell taught courses in East and South Asian religions and philosophies, with special interests in Sri Lanka and Japan. He came to Carleton as a specialist in Christian Ethics, but an assignment to teach the department’s then only course in non-Western religions launched his career in Asian Studies. Bardwell steadily trained himself in Asian religions and learned Chinese, Sanskrit, and Japanese along the way. Students in his classes not only learned deeply but were inspired by his integration of the heart and mind — and kept on their toes by his playful puns. Graffiti in the Carleton tunnels proclaimed his students’ views: “Bardwell Smith is a bodhisattva.”

In many important ways, Bardwell shaped the college culturally. During his time as Dean, the college made some dorms “co-ed” and true to his sense of humor, the moves across campus happened on Valentine’s Day weekend. Spurred in part by Bardwell, the college also committed to doubling the number of African American students. Responding to a journalist, Bardwell said, “If by integration you mean accepting black students and forcing them into the mold of white values, then no, we are not integrating Carleton. … We are trying to be part of the process in this country which is forming a new culture.” (“Faculty Legends”, Voice, Fall 2016)

Bardwell was also influential in promoting the growth of Buddhist studies as a field in the U.S. and globally. He was a respected scholar, editing and writing numerous volumes, including his essays about Buddhism and society in Sri Lanka which were published this past summer. He also initiated the building and maintenance of Carleton’s renowned Japanese Garden.

A memorial service to celebrate Bardwell’s life was held at the Skinner Memorial Chapel at Carleton College on April 15, 2023. The program from the service, including the family’s obituary, is attached.

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  • 2022-11-30 10:01:04
    Angel Dobrow

    I worked with Bardwell years back creating the Just Food Coop. He was wise and super committed to the project. I still crack up when I remember him saying 'it's just us chickens, dear.' The chickens will miss you.

  • 2022-11-30 10:17:28
    Yansi Pérez

    Bardwell was a calming and welcoming voice when I first started at Carleton. Long retired by that point, he had been assigned an office next to mine in the far corner of the third floor of LDC. He was working on a book at that point and would chat with me about his research. I was lucky to have had those hallway chats with him. He imparted wisdom and compassion when I most needed it. May he rest in peace.

  • 2022-11-30 10:30:17
    Lori Pearson

    Even though Bardwell retired 7 years before I arrived at Carleton, he touched my life in so many ways through his consistent kindness as a mentor, role model, and friend. Bardwell always reached out to Religion faculty members (new and old) and students up until his final years, months, and days. He came to our department events, student presentations, and regularly invited newer faculty for a cup of soup in Sayles to hear about their research projects and interests. I always looked forward to these chances to catch up with Bardwell over lunch a couple times a year. Bardwell was very honored by the prize the Religion Department created in his name on the occasion of our 50th anniversary, the Bardwell Smith Prize for Excellence in the Study of Religion, and he made a point of getting to know each student who received it. The ways he reached out to young scholars and pursued cutting-edge topics in his research, including his 2013 book, Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Rituals of Grieving (Oxford University Press), are just small indications of his genuine interest in others. Bardwell was also very proud of his wife, Charlotte's, published book and shared it with many people: Tell Me One Thing: A Story of Two Mothers.

    I also enjoyed talks with Bardwell when he lived in various units at the Northfield Retirement Community. I remember a time when he moved into a new hallway and spoke at length about how much he was going to miss the caregivers and staff members he had come to know in his previous residence. He took an interest in getting to know the community members and high school students who worked there, offering everyone the highest respect and appreciation. I will miss Bardwell's smile, kindness, creative energy, limitless intellectual curiosity, and his example as a model human being, and will cherish his memory.

  • 2022-11-30 11:10:26
    Norman Vig

    Bardwell was Carleton’s finest, the most beloved and respected man on campus. He was Dean during my first six years on the faculty and became a lifelong friend along with his wife Charlotte. God bless them now.

  • 2022-11-30 11:15:39
    Mimi (Garbisch) Carlson

    I have so many remembrances of Bardwell, beginning with his world religions class. He and John Nason were the guiding forces in starting an Asian Studies program; he masterminded the re-location of the Japanese garden; we hosted him when he and Charlotte came to 10 mile lake to officiate at a fellow CC alum's (& family friend) wedding; he officiated at Mom's memorial service in the CC chapel; and more.

  • 2022-11-30 12:08:21
    Louis Newman

    Bardwell, whom most of us knew as "Bard," was already a senior scholar and campus leader when I arrived at Carleton in 1983 straight out of grad school. Still, he took the time to get to know me and to offer me the benefit of his guidance, always in a gentle and gracious way. I remember being impressed by how he managed to maintain an active research program while also teaching large courses and being a leader in so many organizations, both on campus and nationally. I consider myself very fortunate that he was among my mentors in those early years.

    I recall visiting one of his classes, which he held in his living room--students seated on chairs or spread across the floor, sipping tea that he and Charlotte put out for each class. He patiently responded to every comment and question, always inviting students to probe the material more deeply. He was a model of how to combine rigorous intellectual engagement with a caring, compassionate presence and a wonderfully playful sense of humor. It is no wonder that his classes were always oversubscribed or that students spoke adoringly of him.

    Though he retired roughly 30 years ago, he maintained a keen interest in campus affairs and kept in touch with many faculty members, old and new. He was truly a pillar of the Carleton faculty. All of us who had the privilege of knowing him as a colleague and friend will miss him greatly.

    • 2023-04-05 10:41:30
      Denise Sergent

      Re: knowing him as “Bard”
      Bardwell once told me that he tried that name out when he started at Carleton (he called himself “the man with 2 last names” for his name), and he ended up not liking it. He said that many of his peers kept with “Bard” even though his students all knew him as “Bardwell”. I think it’s a perfect name for this nearly-perfect man…

  • 2022-11-30 12:37:32
    Ruth Weiner

    Dear Bard. What a kind and generous mentor he was—not only to students but also to faculty—to all those lucky enough to cross his and Charlotte’s path. I remember both Bard and Charlotte with love and gratitude.

  • 2022-11-30 19:49:53
    Cliff Clark

    I shall miss Bard and Charlotte greatly. He hired me in 1970 and set a standard for teaching excellence and community service. He defined what an outstanding mentor should be, inviting us over for dinner, running seminars with students in his living room, and adding a calming, stabilizing presence to every discussion he was a part of. He was generous of his time and deeply involved in all aspects of Carleton. He will go down in the history of the college as one of the greatest Deans of the college.

  • 2022-11-30 20:28:00
    Roger Jackson

    I have so many memories of Bardwell that I'm still sorting through them – from meeting him when we got into the the same cab at LaGuardia Airport in 1982 not long before I interviewed for a one-year job in the Carleton Religion department, all the way down to helping him complete his recent book of essays on Sri Lanka and celebrating its publication with him at NRC this summer. I will write more recollections and reflections soon, but in the meantime, I want, first, to send my condolences to Bardwell's family and closest friends, and second (at the suggestion of Carolyn Fure-Slocum), to share an obituary that I have written for H-Buddhism, the major online discussion group for scholars of Buddhism. It's not very personal, but it will add some details (which I hope I got right!) to Carolyn's wonderful tribute, and give you some idea of Bardwell's place in the Buddhist studies firmament, at least from my perspective:

    Dear Colleagues [in Buddhist Studies],

    I write, sadly, to report the passing, on November 28, 2022, of Bardwell L. Smith, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus at Carleton College. He was 97.

    At Carleton, Bardwell was a legendary teacher who instructed and inspired generations of students. He also served as Dean of the College for five years and almost single-handedly established the college’s outstanding program in Asian Studies, generating endowments that allowed the college to hire more Asian Studies faculty (including yours truly), bring in visiting professors (and the occasional Buddhist master) from both Asia and the West, sponsor Asian-related cultural events (from sitarists to Tibetan monks to Noh plays), and construct a world-renowned Japanese garden on campus.

    As a scholar of Buddhism and other Asian traditions, Bardwell was a productive social historian over many decades, editing such seminal volumes as Religion and Legitimation of Power in Sri Lanka (1978), Religion and Legitimation of Power in Thailand, Laos, and Burma (1978), Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions (1982), Warlords, Artists, and Commoners: Japan in the Sixteenth Century (co-edited, 1982), Essays on Gupta Culture (1983), Essays on T’ang Society (co-edited, 1986), and The City as Sacred Center: Essays on Six Asian Contexts (co-edited, 1987). He also co-authored, with Eshin Nishimura, Unsui: A Diary of Zen Monastic Life (1973). In 2013, he published his definitive scholarly monograph, Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving. And, in 2022, he brought out a collection of his essays on Sri Lankan religion and society, Precarious Balance: Sinhala Buddhism and the Forces of Pluralism.

    Bardwell was equally influential in promoting the growth of Buddhist studies as a field, both in the U.S. and globally. He was, with such figures as Donald Swearer, Lowell Bloss, Taitetsu Unno, and James Helfer, among the pioneers in the teaching of Buddhism and other Asian religions in American small liberal arts colleges. He supported such education not only in the stateside classroom but through such study-abroad ventures as the Associated Kyoto Program (AKP), Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE), and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Indian Studies Program in Pune, in all of which he took leading roles. He was a founding member of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, serving on the editorial board, the board of directors, and, in 1980–81, as General Secretary. Further, as documented by José Cabezón [who replaced Bard at Carleton in 1995–96] in his 2020 American Academy of Religion presidential address, his efforts were vital to securing a foothold for Buddhist studies at the annual meetings of the AAR – which have become the main venue for scholarly communication about Buddhism in North America, if not the world.

    Bardwell was born in Springfield, MA, in 1925. He attended Andover and Yale, overlapping at both, and playing some baseball, with future President George H.W. Bush. He served in the Marines during World War II, seeing action on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and had his interest in Asia stirred by visits to China and Japan after the war. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1954, and, while working on his Yale Ph.D., served in various ministerial roles in Highland Park, IL, and New Haven, while learning as much as he could about the languages and cultures of Asia. Upon arriving at Carleton in 1960, he inaugurated the study of Asian religions at the college. He retired in 1995. He was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte. He is survived by five children (Peter, Susan, Laura, Brooks, and Sam) and numerous grandchildren, as well as countless friends, students, and colleagues – who will miss him greatly, but will continue to celebrate his lightly-worn erudition, his puckish wit, his rigor as a scholar and clarity as a writer, his lifelong love of both academic and experiential learning, and, far from least, his genuine human kindness.

    • 2022-12-02 10:16:40
      Cynthia Broin 1975

      What a lovely eulogy. I wish I had known him. Now I know that Dean Smith was both a WWII veteran and an Episcopal priest. Incroyable!

  • 2022-11-30 20:37:49
    Paul Bogard '89

    For me, saying "Bardwell" is nearly the same as saying "Carleton." I discovered him winter term of my first year and (after taking a class that he held in his living room) decided to be a religion major soon after. He was my mentor, inspiring my best work at Carleton, but even more so inspiring me to become the writer, teacher, father, and partner I am today. As he used to say, "the only final exam is the rest of your days." There are people who change your life, and Bardwell was one of those people for me. I'll never forget him.

    • 2022-12-01 16:01:03
      Laura Parsons '83

      I agree with Paul Bogard's comment that "Bardwell" is synonymous with Carleton for me. Not only did I learn an enormous amount about India from him, but he was memorably kind. I recall arriving to class one day, distraught about a romance gone wrong, and I tearfully approached him to say I felt too upset to stay. He said something like, "It's raining outside, so it's okay if it rains a little bit inside, too." I stayed. I also remember courses held in his living room, and I would listen while visually drinking in the interesting art and artifacts in his house. During my time at Carleton, Bardwell nearly died from a heart infection, and shortly thereafter, I went to his house for lunch (perhaps we were talking about my comps project?). Because he was restricted to only a few foods while he recovered, he ate a mound of plain cooked spinach while serving me a sandwich. Bardwell also taught me more about writing than any other teacher (except A.K. Ramanujan), and for years, I have graded with a non-threatening purple pen, always thinking of his olive-green, felt-tipped comments on my papers. What a tremendous impact he had on my life and the lives of so many! I am forever grateful.

  • 2022-11-30 21:29:57
    Grace Huenemann '66

    Bardwell's teaching -- and who he was -- had a profound impact on my life. He was one of the faculty members I never failed to visit when I was back on the Carleton campus.

    At the time of our class mini-reunion last May, a classmate and I visited Bardwell for the last time. We and I each wanted to thank him for all that he had given us. We spoke our thanks, and Bard accepted them without really understanding what they were for, or even who we were. That didn’t keep him from being a gracious host who was happy to have visitors. His sweetness and generosity were entirely intact. His confusion, though profound, seemed simple, untainted by resistance, resentment, aggression, or any of the ways confusion can be transformed and complicated. His memory was impaired, but the serenity of his spirit was not.

    It was clear, that day, that we would not see Bard again. I’m deeply grateful we had the opportunity to tell him what he meant to us. I'm grateful, too, that we could support each other in that bittersweet moment.

    I imagine that Bardwell greeted death as a friend whose face he had long contemplated.

    • 2022-12-03 10:45:47
      Jane Hall McKendry, ‘68

      Thank you, Grace, for helping my first tears to flow.

  • 2022-11-30 22:27:14
    Mark Unno

    I was fortunate to come to Carleton as an Assistant Professor of East Asian Religions in 1996, and came to know Bardwell and Charlotte as generous, wise, and kind friends who welcomed my partner Megumi and myself with open arms. We were so fortunate to know both of them, and Bardwell in particular as a truly gentle, gentleman scholar and friend. My father Ty Unno and Bardwell went back many years together on the AKP Board, and so there were two generations of Unnos who benefitted from our association with Bardwell. I know that my father would love to have a cup of saké with Bardwell in the hereafter! Thank you so much, Bardwell. With deepest appreciation and condolences to his family. -- Mark and Megumi Unno, Alice Unno, Eugene, Oregon

  • 2022-12-01 13:16:27
    Parker J. Palmer ‘61

    I posted this tribute online at the day after Bard Smith died. I’m glad to share it with the Carleton community:

    IN MEMORIAM: Bardwell Smith (1925-2022)

    60-plus years ago, when I was a student at Carleton College, I had the life-changing luck of meeting a young professor named Bard Smith. Yesterday, I lost my dear friend and mentor, and the world lost a great soul.

    As a first-generation college student, I often felt scared and on the edge of failure. But Bard saw more in me than I saw in myself, and he changed the course of my life. We kept in close touch until Bard died yesterday at age 97, and he never stopped inspiring me, or making me laugh! Despite the diminishments of old age, his wit, wisdom, and compassion shone thru until the end.

    Bard was a brilliant scholar of East and South Asian religions and philosophies. But his greatest impact on me, and on generations of Carleton students, was not intellect alone: it was his deep integration of mind and heart, his open, compassionate, life-giving heart.

    In 2015, my wife and I visited Bard and his wife, Charlotte, at their home in Northfield, MN. Charlotte, another great soul, was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. What unfolded that afternoon was grace in action, a lesson in love. That night I wrote a poem about it, hoping never to lose the memory (see below)...

    Through all of the ups and downs of personal and public life, Bard lived fully and well in the service of others. Rest in peace, dear friend. My love and gratitude for you knows no bounds...

    P.S. Here’s a story from Bard’s term as Dean of the College (1967-72) that testifies to the kind of leader he was. We desperately need his kind today: “Responding to questions from journalist Molly Ivins, then a Minneapolis Tribune reporter, Smith said, ‘If by integration you mean accepting black students and forcing them into the mold of white values, then no, we are not integrating Carleton. … We are trying to be part of the process in this country which is forming a new culture. We’re not really sure what we’re doing and we can’t guarantee the results, but we are very excited [by] the possibilities in our midst.’”

    "Visiting Charlotte & Bard"

    He’s 90, full of wit and good cheer. She’s 89, no longer
    clear who she’s with or what’s happening. Before we
    go in, he explains, “She’ll ask the same question time
    and again. It’s hard, of course, but she remains her
    same sweet self and we love each other more than ever.”

    Today she wants to know, “When was the last time
    we saw each other?” “Last year at this time,” we
    say, “right here in your lovely home. It’s so good
    to see you again!” “Oh, yes!”, she says, with her
    whole heart. Five minutes later she asks again.

    “Would you like cheese and crackers?”, she asks.
    “Sounds good,” we say, and I ask if I can help. He
    warns me off with a shake of his head, quietly saying,
    “She can still do a few things like this—they help
    her feel more in control of her life.”

    She returns with a tray—cheese, crackers, napkins
    and small plates carefully arranged—stopping
    in front of each of us until we take our share.

    “This is communion,” I think, “the bread of life,
    the wine of love, and our cups floweth over. Never
    has a cathedral seen a moment more holy than this.”

    —Parker J. Palmer

    • 2022-12-03 10:54:17
      Jane Hall McKendry, ‘68

      Thank you for this, and for “Why Should I Ever Be Sad?” which I read at my parent’s ashes scattering last summer. My father, Bill Hall, knew Bard through professional conferences and shared interests, so he and I could share our appreciation of him with each other. Yet I am sad anyway.

    • 2023-03-12 14:32:03
      Beth McKinsey

      Thank you, Parker, for your wonderful tribute and your beautiful poem - which evokes the love between Bard and Charlotte so well!

  • 2022-12-01 15:21:04
    Virginia Smith, Class of 75

    I took a class from Professor Smith my senior year, and based on that experience, took an early morning meditation class which was revelatory. Thank you, Bard, you will never be forgotten and will always be one of the "great oaks" of Carleton.

  • 2022-12-01 15:32:50
    John Elk '67

    In many ways, Bardwell changed the course of my life while I was at Carleton. As an astronomy major looking for other options I took several of Barwell's religion classes and, my senior year, was one of 2 Carls to go on a "term in Thailand" program from St. Olaf across town. For several months the 25 of us were the first foreign students at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, to take courses in language, history and religion. Following 2 summers of studying Thai at Yale and Cornell I went to U.C.Berkeley in their SE Asian studies program and wrote my master's thesis on a tiny element of Thai religious art. Some years later, visiting Carleton with my wife, Bardwell was justifiably proud to give us a guided tour of "his" Japanese garden on campus. We were not often in contact, but as I went on to a long career as a travel photographer, I was well aware of the debt of gratitude I owed to Bardwell for having started me on a love of Asia as well as my particular photographic interest in religious art and architecture. I am saddened to learn he is no longer out there for me to thank him personally for the impact he has had on my life.

  • 2022-12-01 15:40:32
    Emily Kawaler '10

    I spent part of the summer of '09 helping out in the Smiths' beautiful backyard garden. They were always exceptionally kind and fascinating to talk to. I remember with particular fondness the end-of-summer lunch they shared with me and the wonderful stories they told! May their memories be a blessing.

  • 2022-12-01 17:32:59
    Priscilla Cogan, 1968

    What a wonderful, inspiring teacher. I remember an ethics class in which Bard said, “If you just memorize the material, I will give you a C. But if I think you have really learned something, I will give you a B. If you can teach me something, I will give you an A.” Accepting the challenge, I tried to finish Bonhoeffer’s unfinished book on ethics. I think he gave me an A for hutzpah! Bard, you made such an impression on everyone.

  • 2022-12-01 17:43:26
    John Gendler, '70

    I was in student government when Bardwell was Dean of the College. He, and President John Nason, were voices of reason during the spring of 1970. A wonderful person. His death is a terrible loss to the entire Carleton community.

  • 2022-12-01 17:46:10
    Mark Gonzalez, 1983

    Wow, how sad. The irony here is I never met Prof. Smith during my college years but then was the most grateful beneficiary of Bardwell's and Charlotte's hospitality about 6 years post graduation when they offered me a room when I returned to Carleton College as a sabbatical replacement. This fall my youngest son began his studies at Carleton College, and I had hoped to spend some time thanking the Smiths for their generosity all those years ago.

    During my fall as a sabbatical replacement, I would spend Sunday afternoons grading exams and labs in a sport's bar so I could watch Vikings football. Bardwell put an end to that and invited me into his family room where we could yell, scream, cuss and discuss what could have been, should have been, might have been, if only...We're talking Vikings now, so there is a lot of wishful thinking that goes back generations. I remember his son visiting from the Cities to enliven our sports analysis and pontificating. The very first game I watched with Bard was also the very first game that Herschel Walker played as a Viking (his professional career and political career couldn't be more polar opposites). Here's how Walker's first play as a Viking was written up in the newspaper:

    "On Walker’s first play from scrimmage, 12:38 into the game, he went off right guard, shot through a hole and shed four tackles en route to a 47-yard run. He ran the final 15 yards without his right shoe, which he kicked in the air when safety Mark Murphy attempted to tackle him."

    Okay, I saw a side of Bard that probably few others ever saw. I loved the man for all his fine qualities and for being the ultimate humanitarian, but I also loved the Bard that could talk smack over a silly game like football.

    Prof. Smith, you are the finest example of what we each strive to be as fellow citizens and friends. I am better for having met you. May your memory be a blessing to the Smith family and all who knew you.

  • 2022-12-01 18:24:01
    Owen Sholes '72

    I took Chinese Religious thought with Dr. Smith (as I knew him) my sophomore year. It was the most challenging and enlightening course I ever took in any discipline, undergrad or grad. I still ponder the questions he posed for us.
    And then there was Rotblatt, with Bard and his horrible glove making amazing plays and hitting far too well. He smiled practically the whole time with pure enjoyment of the game.
    And there is (and I hope, always will be) the Japanese garden behind Watson that he helped create and maintain. Such peace.
    His spirit lives on.

  • 2022-12-01 18:39:36
    Karen Kay Christian '75

    I took "Chinese Religious Thought " from him my freshman year, as a Lutheran girl from small town Minnesota and it truly changed my life. So grateful ....

  • 2022-12-01 18:48:28
    Rose Cohen-Brown

    Dr. Smith's classes were known to be tough and he had the reputation of being a hard grader, but there were still long wait lists to get into his Eastern Religions class. I somehow managed to talk my way off the wait list and into his class. I was challenged to "think outside the box" and truly learned a lot from him. Near the end of the semester, the class was invited to his home to be fed a meal of Indian-inspired cuisine, and we were compelled to eat it with our fingers. You'd be surprised how hard that can be when your parents spent years telling you not to eat with your fingers! He will be well remembered by many.

  • 2022-12-01 18:56:23
    Andy Bezella '96

    i was a math major and only ever took a single class from bardwell, but his influence will last my lifetime.

  • 2022-12-01 22:34:20
    Harry McLachlin ‘69

    As a sophomore living in Burton in 1967 amidst many upperclassmen I was requested to chair a CSA committee on the Freshman Year as there were many first years complaining about various shortcomings. Mainly I recall Dean Smith as a model of calm patience as those on the committee served up complaint after complaint about various requirements I no longer recall. The committee’s eventual report led to significant changes in the first year program and observing Dean Smith’s calmness while chairing it was a
    quiet lesson in how to conduct oneself which I never forgot—and in fact prepared me to undertake a similar task while in military service. Much enjoyed seeing Dean Smith at a couple Reunions and thanking him for the example he set which stayed with me for decades—tho wish I’d taken a course from him!

    • 2022-12-11 09:25:09
      Tom Weaver '69

      Wow, Bard and Charlotte were such an inspiration for balance and compassionate wisdom for so many through out the world. Did not take a class from him, and good to read from classmates Harry and Tekashi "James," who were influenced by Bard during our time at Carleton in the late 1960's. We stepped up to arrange our 50th reunion, and now as we stopped by the calming Japanese garden next to Watson, I remember going across the street and being welcomed by Bard and Charlotte and somehow they remembered us as the tall basketball player from the late 60's who, like Parker Palmer, spent a lot of time with Dacie Moses as a singing Knight at 110 Union Street with the warmth of Dacie and her kitchen cooking baking community, over 4 years, three nights a week. Carrying you all in our heart, as later in life we continue to meditate in a Tibetan Bon Tradition taught by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche each morning. The 3 doors: the stillness of the body, the silence of the voice, and the spaciousness of the mind. As my D/Lakota elders remind us, "Mitakuye Oyasin" we are all related, love, joy, compassion and equanimity.

  • 2022-12-02 00:08:12
    Chris Berg '71

    I remember the Smiths out with their big black standard poodle, full of open kindness. I remember Dean Smith explaining *jen*, humanity, in Chinese Religious Thought. I remember Bard guiding a smattering of Episcopalians through H. Richard Niebuhr in a Sunday School. It was all good. The shape - such a winnowed piece of the richness I see in these comments - that shape that Dean Smith kept in my vision, and that of others I knew and trusted, the shape of how to grow up in openness to the thoroughly unfamiliar, the shape offered by chances to be gentle, what a fine thing. Thanking the spirit he encouraged in our college. Peace to all who remember.

  • 2022-12-02 01:53:32
    Joanne Wakeland '67

    I'm feeling untethered by the news of Bard's passing. He certainly changed my life. I arrived at Carleton from a white, suburban, Midwestern background and jumped wholeheartedly into the Asian Studies program that Bard began. When I took Hinduism and Buddhism from him, it transformed how I thought about religion, and in many ways, about life. I went to Kyoto on the Carleton-Doshisha program that he pioneered (with Tetsuo Najita, whom we have also lost). When I returned to Carleton to teach East Asian history as a sabbatical replacement, I was blessed to build an new relationship with Bard. I experienced the kindness and gentle influence that so may others have spoken of. I saw then and have seen over the years how he built the connections that transformed Carleton from a Midwestern school to a window on the world. It was a great joy to see him again five years ago when I was back for my 50th reunion. This is a great loss to all who knew him. My condolences to his family.

  • 2022-12-02 07:05:12
    Jimmy Chin

    I carried the Guide to the I Ching that he shared with our class for two decades of travel and expeditions. I consulted it innumerable times over the years just as he taught us. I bought the book for my closest friends. Bard’s influence reached far and wide. He will be missed.

  • 2022-12-02 07:06:29
    Jimmy Chin

    I was fortunate enough to get Bard as one of my first semester professors my freshman year. He had a profound influence on the direction of my studies at Carleton. I carried the Guide to the I Ching that he shared with our class for two decades of travel and expeditions. I consulted it innumerable times over the years just as he taught us. I bought the book for my closest friends. Bard’s influence reached far and wide. He will be missed.

  • 2022-12-02 11:10:41
    Catherine Phipps '90

    Some of the words I see in others' comments that best describe Bardwell to me are: generous, gracious, kind, and wise. He greatly influenced my interest in Japan (along with Mariko Kaga and Katie Sparling) while I was at Carleton and helped me decide to get a Ph.D. in Japanese history. I will always remember the Oxherding Pictures, the twinkle in his eyes when he made a joke, and the warmth with which he responded to an email I'd sent him after years of silence. He taught me the phrase "it's all gift," and I've used it as a mantra ever since. Thank you, Bardwell, I will miss you!

  • 2022-12-02 12:37:11
    Tim Munson '94

    I have good memories of Bardwell from the Japanese festival he organized in the spring of 1993. He gave a few lectures and was heavily involved throughout. (I worked on the plays and was in a related class.) He was clearly knowledgeable, but also radiated curiosity and warmth. And on alumni weekends, even after he'd retired, he'd give tours of the Japanese garden and the smaller one at his house across the street.

  • 2022-12-02 14:55:59
    Larry Fish ['75]

    Though I never took a course from Prof. Smith, I knew very well who he was. I recall (from the early 1970s) a message written somewhere along the walls of the campus tunnels: "Prof. Bardwell Smith is a Bodhisattva" -- I always assumed that behind the academic wit there was a strong element of admiration. Even those of us who could not fit one his courses into our schedules knew that Prof. Smith represented the best of what Carleton was all about.

    • 2022-12-21 19:25:37
      Sam Demas

      Thanks for passing along the information that student graffiti in the tunnels included "Bardwell is a Bohdisattva"! I hadn't noticed this before I wrote my own remembrance, coming late to the discovery that his students had long ago!

  • 2022-12-02 16:04:35
    Edi Chu, '77

    It became a “Bardwell” course. The focus was our affinity and need for ideas and expression of the spiritual part of being human. In intense discussions and challenging writing assignments, we explored the continuum of the “sacred and profane” of life; how “Man’s extremity is G_d’s opportunity” as Bardwell put it; how religious traditions could offer ethical guidance as well as “pathways to purification”; but also, how enlightenment could be achieved through self-mastery, in service to others, or through the workings of karma, or grace. It seemed simple through Bardwell’s approach, the story of how human identity and values were related to transcendent, even divine forces and possibilities. He masterfully bridged eastern and western intellectual and reverent cultures; as we made this special journey with him, he encouraged us to be inclusive, loving, and grateful with one another. His academic expectations were sky high; we learned and grew so much as individuals, but never separate from the community he helped show was natural among us.

    I gained such love, admiration, and trust for Bardwell, as did my life partner Mark (Hunter, ’78). Bardwell baptized Mark, married us, baptized our children Edison and Asya, and became, along with Charlotte, a lifetime force of benevolence and inspiration for our family and many others. There was graffiti written in a corridor of the tunnels that run beneath the campus – “Bardwell Smith is a bodhisattva . . .” – and there’s no reason to doubt it.

  • 2022-12-02 17:01:42
    Karin Downs

    Not only was Bardwell's class one of the best I took at Carleton, but his amazing and beautiful long-haired cat, Magnificat, would often come and scratch at our window in Russian House - on Nevada St, one street over from Bardwell and Charlotte. My room mate, Janet Ashby, and I would let him in, warm him up, and either send him on his way, or take him home to the Smith household. They greeted him with delight and were grateful for his return. One summer I stayed on campus and Bardwell asked me to cat sit for Magnificat - and in return, he offered his meditation room as a quiet retreat. Bardwell's kindness, humor and equanimity have stayed with me throughout my life. I am grateful to have known him.

  • 2022-12-02 17:37:39
    Andi Scott Dumas '80

    Like so many of Bardwell's former students, I will always remember the Paths of Purification class that met in the Smith family living room, and the pleasure of communal learning within that warm welcome. As part of that class Bardwell took us to the MN Zen Center, where Katagiri Roshi chortled about watching the antics of our "monkey minds", and parked us facing a blank wall while we attempted to meditate. I swore for the next thirty years that Buddhism was the one religion I would never explore personally....but in part thanks to Bardwell's support for true inquiry I've been an active member of a Buddhist sangha for a decade now.

    Bardwell agreed to marry my husband and me in 1997, and we remember fondly his wry and celebratory spirit at our wedding. He and I visited a number of times over the last forty five years, reflecting on changes in family life, spiritual paths, social justice and aging. His friendship was an inspiration and a comfort, and his accessibility to his students one of the rare gifts that make a place like Carleton so special.

    • 2023-04-06 05:41:11
      Craig Scott ‘83

      I adore Bardwell and will miss him greatly as a mentor, spiritual guide and friend. I will share more in tribute to him but can’t resist asking if anyone has access to the syllabus of Paths of Purification, which I regret to this day not taking (although I took many courses taught by Bardwell). I would like to read the books. Thank you.

  • 2022-12-02 22:39:29
    Dorothy Broom (class of 66)

    In winter term of my first year at Carleton, I took a class from Bard. By the time the term finished, I had made up my mind what my major would be: whatever he is teaching, I’m majoring in that. It is a decision I never regretted. Discussion groups held in their living room, with Charlotte’s unfailing hospitality, was an unanticipated bonus.
    A few years after I graduated and later moved to Australia, he and Charlotte travelled to Australia with young Brooks and Sam - en route to Asia. He suggested I go with them from Canberra to Melbourne, which I did gladly. It gave me a touching insight into the modesty of their lives on the road, and the simple directness of their engagement with whatever a time and place offered.
    My occasional trips to Northfield over the ensuing decades permitted me to deepen my connection with the Smiths, and Bard continued to offer me gentle introductions to ideas and writers from which I might benefit. Some of these offerings changed the course of my life, just as the privilege of learning from him had been doing for five decades. It was a blessing for which I am for ever grateful.
    We shall not see his like again,
    Vale dear Bardwell.

  • 2022-12-03 22:21:20
    Takashi James Kodera '69

    I first met Bard in Japan in spring 1965 when I was preparing to cross the Pacific to start college at Carleton. He was touring Japan for her research. During all four years at Carleton, he was my mentor for studies as well as for professional and indeed vocational aspirations. When he took students to Japan during the summer of 1969, I went as his interpreter and assistant. I followed his advice on where to go to graduate school, whether to accept an academic appointment (first at Oberlin and then at Wellesley). When I saw him at the 50th Reunion, he seemed weak but had the same wit. I thanked him, saying, "Everything I have done since I first met him was all your fault." He responded with his characteristic smirk, and said, "I think Dacie Moses had somehting to do with that." Of course, he was right. As I went from Boston to Dacie's memorial service at the local Congo Church, where her father once served, Bard invited me to stay with him and Charlotte. On their kitchen table, I wrote a tribute to Dacie, which now hangs on the wall of Dacie's dining room.
    I also followed him to ordained ministry, becoming the first Asian American ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in 1986. He was my inspiration in so many ways. I have sought to emulate him, but have fallen short. I will continue with grateful memories of Bard who never fails to inspire me, even after his passing. He now joins Charlotte who preceded him by three years. I also remember when Sam (Samuel Bardwell Smith) came arrived at their house in Northfield from an orphanage in Korea. He refused to take off his clothes for several days, said Charlotte. He grew up to come a clinical psychologist in the Bay Area, specializing in adoptees like himself with American GIs as fathers and Korean mothers.
    We offer our heartfeld thanks to Bard for all he did for us and with us. May his soul rest in eternal peace with our Maker and Redeemer.

    • 2023-04-05 09:51:44
      James Porter Hamann ‘68

      Takashi—what a moving tribute to Bardwell Smith (I didn’t know him well enough to call him Bard.) His course in East Asian Religions has had an enduring presence with me, and texts he assigned are still valued companions. “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones” is always on my nightstand, and when asked about my religious practice, I borrow from Huston Smith to describe myself as an Episcopalian cosmic dancer.

  • 2022-12-04 01:03:10
    Ted Frisbie, '95

    I feel sorry for all those grieving the passing of Bardwell, a person who I routinely describe as "the mountain" in my college education, but am so grateful for the sharing of these stories with the community affected by him.

    I first met Bardwell as a prospective student, and attended a tour of both the Japanese garden behind Watson as well as the one in his backyard across the street. He wore his blue Boston Red Socks hat and left an indelible impression on my parents and me. I never see one without thinking of those first ones I encountered, and of Bardwell.

    I also attended a session of his "Chinese Religious Thought" class as a prospective, and was so impressed. (Somehow, I have a memory of this being both in his living room and also in a classroom- I think I must be conflating the two.) I bought an edition of the Tao Te Ching in the bookstore before leaving campus. I remember my elation when I got in to that class as a sophomore winter trimester, and all the comments on my essays in felt green marker, signed "BLS."

    His house was like a museum of art and sculpture. I'll never forget the amazing picture he had of Rabindranath Tagore in his office. I feel like it had a water stain placed just so it made it more dramatic.

    I'm also feeling grateful I was there for his featured Convo speech in spring of '95. How many times I've written down his little koan he mentioned then and so many other times: "I teach; we learn." Having been a 7th & 8th grade humanities teacher for 25 years, it couldn't be more true.

    My sophomore year, Bardwell and the amazing Maha-Roger Jackson co-taught a senior seminar called "Nagarjuna to Nishitani." What an amazing syllabus tracing the evolution of the idea of emptiness from early Buddhism, through Western Philosophy and back again- and such freedom for inquiry in the seminar setting. Geshe Sopa came from Madison and led meditation, and we visited the Minnesota Zen Center just after Master Roshi had passed. All of it was wonderful.

    I hope the memorial brings laughter, closeness and closure to all those whom he touched in his over-half-a-century at Carleton! I'm sure there'll be some memorial punning just for him. He loved such terrible puns!

    With affection & sympathy.

  • 2022-12-04 10:53:15
    David Giglio, '89

    When I reflect on all the richness of the time spent in Bardwell's classes, living room, and office, and how much of an impact he had on my studies and whom I have become... and then reflect on the sheer volume of students, faculty, and staff who have been similarly blessed... it's quite remarkable. At a time when the world seems to swirl in such chaos, what a calming salve to remember his way of delving deeply into any matter without being sucked into it, of maintaining that light touch, warmth, and humor. Such wisdom and kindness.

  • 2022-12-05 07:26:47
    Grace Goh '06

    I never had the chance to take a class with Bardwell because he taught before my time, but I’ll always remember his genuine human kindness to a bunch of us international students who stayed over during break.

    He was initially less a teacher and mentor, than a grandfatherly figure who opened his house to us. But over meals and conversations, his insight and wit shone through – here was someone who lived fully and thought deeply about life, whose quiet presence spoke without having to say much. I think he was one of the few truly wise people I have known, partly through age and experience, partly through his own temperament and reflection. Just hanging out with him was always calming; he never judged or tried to solve the problems of us crazy young people, he was always relaxed and receptive. His presence, and Charlotte, and the house, was a deeply peaceful place. He was a spiritual soul, and I will miss him.

  • 2022-12-05 15:23:27
    John Youngblood '84

    Bardwell was such a wonderful and gentle man. And a great teacher. I chose to be a Religion major in large measure due to his influence and inspiration. Here's to a life well led. He will be missed but forever remembered.

  • 2022-12-05 17:10:32
    Fred Hagstrom

    I was surprised, and obviously quite pleased, when Bardwell took an interest in me during my first years at Carleton. He came to an exhibit that I had in the gallery, and we seemed to stay in touch after that. And later, when I was doing a project about Frank Shigemura, and the student relocation council ( a program headed by John Nason that got Japanese students out of concentration camps and onto campuses during the war) Bardwell again helped me. That taught me something- not to be so consumed or busy in my own work to forget to reach out to people. I have tried to connect with people across campus throughout my time at Carleton, remembering what Bardwell had done for me. I doubt that I did it in any way close to his level.

  • 2022-12-06 11:47:36
    Noboru Tomonari

    Bardwell was already enjoying his retirement when I started to teach at Carleton in 2001. Besides the faculty at the Asian Languages and the Literatures who offered me the position that year, I only knew Chuck Donnell at Carleton when I arrived. Chuck was a father of a friend during my graduate school years at Chicago. Chuck was staying at Bardwell's outbuilding at the time and he introduced me to Bardwell and Bardwell's wife Charlotte. Bardwell and his wife volunteered to help myself and my wife Yuki getting an American driver's license for the first time in our lives. They accompanied us to the test site on separate occasions. I also remember they inviting us to the Thanksgiving dinner in November of our first year here. Knowing minimally about Bardwell's career as a faculty and a dean, my sense of Bardwell and his wife are that they were compassionate, caring people who greatly impressed me at my new workplace. I had looked up to them as my great role models back then and I will, always. I also remember running into the couple in Kyoto in 2010, when I taught at the Associated Kyoto Program for the very first time. The AKP that Bardwell founded, is celebrating its half a century this year and still going strong. It still remains today the flagship OCS for the Japanese language program at Carleton. I saw Bardwell briefly for the last time when Yuki and I attended a memorial service for Charlotte in 2019. I offer my sincere condolences to Bardwell's family.

  • 2022-12-06 14:45:12
    Beth Spencer McQuie '79

    Bardwell Smith’s Introduction to Religion class was one of the most memorable and useful classes I took at Carleton. I still remember sitting at a monastery at 4 am and meditating with the monks. I also remember our small classes sitting in a circle in what might have been Bardwell Smith’s living room. The readings we did left a lifelong impact on me. They gave me a view of religion that is much bigger than Christianity. I am so grateful to him for exposing me to some of the leading theologians and to helping me shape my religious views.

  • 2022-12-07 13:03:58
    Judith Berling, '67

    Bardwell was a major mentor inspiring me in both my professional and personal life. I followed in one of his paths )(studied Chinese religions). He was my most important teacher at Carleton, challenging me and sharing the joy of learning. His teaching was so good that it became the model of my own. He recommended me for my first teaching job. I enjoyed visiting him and Charlotte in their home in Northfield. The world is a sadder and less wise place without Bardwell.

  • 2022-12-09 11:07:40
    Peter Wiegand

    It’s great to read all the wonderful anecdotes and memories for Professor Smith. I took Chinese Religious Thought from Bardwell, and it profoundly changed my perspective on life. His expertise, combined with a humble and gentle demeanor, was also influential. I finally recall one of his lectures held at the Japanese Garden there, which remains a fitting tribute to his legacy.

  • 2022-12-09 13:57:01
    Anne Blackburn

    Greetings, everyone, and condolences to those who knew Bardwell closely. It is moving to see the tributes here on this site. I came to know him through publications when I studied with Don Swearer (Swarthmore) as an undergraduate, and it is Bardwell's publications on Buddhism and power which sparked in me an enduring interest in the relationships among monastics, Buddhist intellectual life, and socio-political authority. Of course, I benefited indirectly from Bardwell's contributions as a student on the ISLE Program (Sri Lanka) also! It was moving to see Bardwell's final essay collection released quite recently. Clearly his memory is a blessing. May that continue. Warm regards, Anne Blackburn (Cornell University).

  • 2022-12-10 06:34:31
    Donen Ted O'Toole

    In the 1970s and 1980s Bardwell brought groups of students to Minnesota Zen Meditation Center to meet Katagiri Roshi and learn about zazen. He also had Katagiri down to Carleton to speak. MZMC acquired some new and enduring members from this interchange. That was before my time at MZMC. I remember Bardwell and Charlotte primarily as early supporters of the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center. They attended a number of our events, and they were such a dear couple. I remember in particular a time when I brought some teenagers from NBMC's Buddhist youth group to the Japanese Garden. He gave us a tour and we did some sitting meditation. He was delighted with the young folks. I will miss him greatly.

  • 2022-12-10 11:17:23
    David Jensen '90

    I don't remember how many classes I took from Bardwell, but it was certainly a lot of them. He taught us to appreciate the beauty of religious and cultural traditions that were unfamiliar to most of us--something that the world needs even more today. He opened his house and his heart to us in many memorable conversations in his living room. He encouraged my writing at a time when I wasn't very confident in what I had to say. I learned so much from Bardwell, most importantly about what it means to be human. All from a kind, gentle, and funny person who even looked like a college professor. Thank you, Bardwell.

  • 2022-12-11 07:51:39
    Chang-tai Hung and Wai-han Mak

    Bardwell and Charlotte Smith welcomed us to Northfield in 1981 with warmth and generosity. A legendary teacher to countless Carleton students and a selfless mentor to many junior faculty members, Bard was a Carleton institution. He exemplified junzi – a Chinese concept referring to a model of benevolence, wisdom, and integrity. He was the heart and soul of Carleton’s Asian Studies program. His passionate pursuit of knowledge was inspiring. Picking up Japanese in his 50s, Bard reminds us that it is never too late to learn new things. He called this lifelong quest for knowledge, with a characteristic self-effacing Bardwellian smile, “an old dog learning new tricks.” In the summer of 1990, he led a team of three – Bard, Qiguang Zhao and Chang-tai – to universities in China in search of an off-campus home for Carleton’s Chinese culture and language program. The site finally chosen was the renowned Nankai University located in Tianjin, a coastal city where Bard was coincidentally stationed as a young Marine in the late 1940s after World War II. He initiated and built, with the help of David Slawson, a Japanese garden on the campus, and aptly called it Jōryō-en – the Garden of Quiet Listening. This place is a serene corner for reflection and an oasis of peace and unity, and it embodies the heart of Bardwell Smith. He brought warmth to so many people’s lives. Bard, you are dearly missed.

  • 2022-12-16 08:51:32
    Anne Godfrey '97

    It is hard to know where to start when someone has had such a profound impact on your life. This is long, please forgive me.

    For the last two decades I have traveled to Northfield to stay with Bardwell and Charlotte for a few days nearly every summer. They were like family to me.

    This summer marked my 25th Carleton Reunion. I realized my visit to Bardwell was likely the last time I would see him. I was lucky that day. He was spunky and gleeful upon my appearance in his room. We chatted, his soft raspy laughter filling the small space. We talked of so many things. And as always, even in those last years, he asked about my family. We talked of the Japanese Garden, and my own career as an academic. We talked about his children and Charlotte.

    I met Bardwell my senior year at Carleton. I took the Taoism course that spring, which Qiguang Zhao (also a revelation) and Bardwell co-taught. Taoism was not new to me. Growing up in northern Wisconsin somehow I had found a slim copy and fell upon it like a raft, finding clarity and resonance. I had collected different translations of the Tao Te Ching. Days before the course started in March, I learned that my mother had terminal cancer. I was already feeling very much lost, my self construction was failing. I became even more unmoored.

    I was no religion major, and at times felt out of my depth in that seminar room, but I hung on. Bardwell was open to my thoughts and experiences, even though I didn’t have the theoretical chops other students had. My writings came back with pencil marks and green felt tip pen questions from my professors. I was not the best student, but I realized that didn’t quite matter while listening to Bardwell and Qiguang explore concepts back and forth.

    So many things fell apart in those short 10 weeks. I poured myself into my comps. I had absolutely no plan after graduation - so much so that I didn’t even realize I had no plan.

    One day in class, close to the end of the term, Bardwell announced that the College was looking for someone to work in the Japanese Garden over the summer. I was struck. I did not think twice about it. I came to Bardwell after class and said I wanted to be that person. I wanted to work in the Japanese Garden.

    What did I know about gardening? Nearly nothing. Only that I liked to be outside as much as possible, and I was not afraid to work. This just felt right.

    That summer I worked in the Japanese Garden and learned much, not only from Bardwell but also Mary Bigelow and David Slawson. After the first summer, I traveled and then returned to take care of my mother as she died. Anyone who has cared for a terminally ill loved one knows how terrible it is and how much of a blessing it is when that person can finally die. By the end of that journey I was totally lost, alone and numb.

    Somehow I had let Bardwell and Charlotte know what had happened. I was stuck in Wisconsin, I had no plan. Their invitation came.

    Come stay with us, you can live in the basement in our son’s room. For as long as you want.

    This saved my life.

    . . .

    They were tender with me and gave me much space. I didn’t understand at the time, but in looking back they gave me safety and certainly and something I could trust. Their kindness and love was twofold, coming in two different forms.

    Bardwell treated me as an equal. The first adult to do so, in my estimation. I did not realize how transformative Bardwell’s open acceptance of who I was and what I was going through shifted my being onto a healthy path. He so freely shared his own insights, and so easily listened to mine. I was able to test my own thoughts with him without feeling that I would be judged or dismissed.

    These talks would often occur on the back glassed in porch overlooking the Smith’s Japanese Garden, which I tended along with the Japanese Garden behind Watson Hall. How many lunches and dinners did I get to share with Bardwell and Charlotte over that time? Countless. I can still feel the glaze of the pottery and the texture of the blue and green tablecloth. Each of these meals was one little bit closer to healing. Being treated as an equal. Being acknowledged for my own self. Being surrounded with love and respect.

    Charlotte treated me with kindness. Selfless offers of food, a place to sit in a comfortable chair. Coffee in the handmade mugs. Oatmeal on the stove. Her hands working with steady determination. The beautiful sapphire on her finger from her dear Bard. Those same hands scratching Mitsu the honey red golden retriever behind the ears.

    She sat me down one day at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee before each of us. The arrangement of shells and other beautiful humble objects lay on the table and up on the bay window. She took one of the shells in her hand and said as her eyes sparkled and softened with kindness, “You might find it helpful to see someone. To talk about it, your mom dying.”

    That time with them was so healing.

    This was also during the time when Chuck and Zoe Donnell often stayed for long stretches in Bardwell and Charlotte’s apartment (it had been built for Bardwell’s mother, a whole story of its own that some of you know). Chuck would appear at different times to say hello, confirm a plan, and talk baseball. His tall frame fit itself into the efficient kitchen. His watch was a wonder to me, as he had a calendar attached to it. Small frames of metal – two months worth – slid upon the links. He remembered every appointment, just by referring to the dates etched upon the plaques.

    This was long before Chuck and Bardwell’s adventure of attending a baseball game at nearly every stadium in the United States. This was long before Charlotte began to lose her memory. At this time she still played tennis regularly with her dear friends in Cowling.

    The three of us would watch the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour or baseball (of course!) with trays balanced on our knees. Charlotte would make her famous baked salmon. We would sit together in the dark robin’s egg blue paneled library that also served as the tv room ¬– Bardwell sitting on his black Carleton chair commented, laughed or cheered and sometimes all three at once. That laughter rings in my ears.
    . . .

    Time passed, I lived in many places – California, Oregon, New Mexico, New York. Regardless of my ever-changing life I always returned to Maple Street, and then the Village on the Cannon, to stay and visit and share meals with the two people who had become like family to me.

    Bardwell and I emailed over these years. I would update him on my teaching (I had become a professor of landscape architecture – my time in the Japanese Garden led me to that path), interests and general whereabouts. He would share news of his books, family (grandchildren and grand reunions), travels (Shikoku, Sri Lanka, Maine) and all things Carleton. “Dear B and C, . . . Love A”

    A few times we met up in unexpected places. When Chuck and Bardwell were fully embroiled in their grand tour of the baseball stadiums, I met Bardwell in Seattle. I made the trip from Oregon, picked him up from the airport in my white Tacoma and took us on a little sight-seeing before dropping him off for the Mariners game. As a budding landscape architect, I took him to Gas Works Park, by Rich Haag. We wandered and I shared my thoughts about the design and its place in the history of landscape architecture and he listened. We had a picnic lunch of rice crackers, cheese, apples, a boxed salad and lemonade upon the bright green grass overlooking Lake Union. He wore one of his perennial sweaters, pale yellow this time, a broken in polo shirt and a “C” baseball cap ¬– Barwell’s modest uniform.

    More unexpected, I found myself in Japan at the same time as Bardwell and Charlotte. They were on a wonderful trip with their Carleton colleagues and friends, including the Barbours, gifted by Leo Lum, whose life was also transformed by Bardwell. I was visiting for the second time on a deep dive studying Japanese gardens in Kyoto. It was springtime and the cherry blossoms were indeed out. I thought of Bardwell’s words – impermanence and joy – as the pale pink petals fell upon my face and hair while I drank hot coffee from a can.

    We had dinner. I was freely welcome to join these lions, elders, bodhisattvas, friends. What an adventure they were having! How joyful they were in appreciation of these gifts and experiences. How humble they were. I was just a small green shoot as I gazed upon their stout and tall yet flexible bamboo stalks. It was like walking in a great blue green bamboo forest – overwhelming yet peaceful.

    . . .

    The years stretched. I would make my annual pilgrimage to Northfield, offered a place to stay in Maple Street’s upstairs twin beds, or sometimes in the apartment. Annually Bardwell would inquire about my visit. “When are you coming? You are welcome to stay with us.” This question often arrived in a June email, two months after the annual birthday email in April.

    Each visit included long talks, often over lunch. Gardens, the environment, travels, friends, relationships, careers, family. Choices. These conversations were not abstract, though they often delt with the themes of the world, of humanity. But of course, these conversations were punctuated by zippy puns and laughter. Bardwell, eyes all twinkly and mischievous when he crafted a particularly awful pun. We talked of the food co-op for many years and at this time a new sweater was added to the rotation. A zig zag pattern of browns ran across the chest – I still think of this as the Just Food sweater.

    During every visit, even the last, Bardwell would ask upon my father, my brother, my nephew. We got to add another topic to these conversations several years ago. My dog. My dear border collie companion. I asked Bardwell in an email if it would be ok to name my new little wiggly black, white and brown puppy after him. “I’d like to call him Bardwell.”

    “Yes! Now we will always be together!” he replied. I could hear his laughter as he slapped his hand upon his knee.

    Bardwell and Bardwell met in 2018. The photo is here. They share some things in common. Sharply intelligent, spunky, athletic, joyful and loving. Bardwell here is speaking to Bardwell about, I believe, impermanence. Bardwell listens intently.

    A few years later, we added another topic to our conversation, my college sweetheart Don. Bardwell and I sat in the lounge at the Village on the Cannon. I made him coffee. I shared with him my luck of reuniting with my matching puzzle piece and how it gave me a new lease on life. He spoke of Charlotte in the same way. He spoke of his time of healing after the war. I spoke of trusting. We spoke of respect. We shared our hearts as equals.

    What a gift.

    Anne Godfrey ‘97

  • 2022-12-18 21:23:33
    Sam Demas

    Bardwell "believed people like us could make a difference.
    He never doubted that we have the strength and basic goodness
    to help others" (Pema Chodron).
    He engaged deeply and made people smile.
    An open-hearted teacher, friend and mentor to so many.

    Soon after I joined the Carleton library in 1998, Bardwell appeared in my office to chat and offer encouragement. We got to know each other a bit, and talked about Carleton and Northfield. Along the way he joked seriously that there are two kinds of administrators, distinguishable by how they respond when presented with a new idea: the first puts the foot on the brakes, while the second gently presses the accelerator, curious to explore where the idea might lead. He opined that Carleton needed more of the second type, pursuing innovative ways to serve the college. He instantly became a mentor, and we soon became friends. We often met at Sayles Hill for lunch and discussed topics revolving loosely around living life with compassion and kindness, and how best to innovate and serve for the good of the communities we serve.

    Years later, following his footsteps on Shikoku Island, early one morning we witnessed an astonishing fire ceremony in a Zen temple. Amazed, I whispered to Bard, “I’ve never experienced anything like that before!”, to which he replied, “Neither have I!” During this pilgrimage he knew deeply, we somehow bonded at a new level.

    Over time I realized that my favorite haunts in Northfield – the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center (NBMC), the Japanese Garden, and Just Food Co-op – are all places where Bardwell’s mature spiritual energy helped to build community in Northfield.

    I last saw him in his final days; he was agitated and not communicative, but responded with a smile to a squeeze of his hand and a glimpse of the pilgrims stick he had given me in Japan.

    Bard was an open-hearted connector of people, ideas, places and communities. I’m awed to learn since he died how widely and deeply his spiritual presence, organizational energy, scholarship, teaching, and activism touched so many, and how he helped bring Buddhism to the West. In ways that transcend all religions and labels, he awakened compassion, joy, ideas, and wisdom in many beings over a long and fruitful life.

    As it happens, this month at the NBMC we are discussing Pema Chodron’s book Becoming Bodhisattvas. Reading this book and reflecting on what people are saying about Bardwell since his death, I feel his spirit is still present. I now realize that Bardwell is a Bodhisattva. This past few weeks it feels as if I have been glimpsing Bardwell in the bardo, preparing for his next life.

    Thank you Bardwell! We were blessed with your example, wisdom, kindness and service. Your work will continue through those you touched in this turn of the wheel.

    "And now as long as space endures,
    As long as there are beings to be found,
    May I continue likewise to remain
    To drive away the sorrows of the world."

    – Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, verse 10.55

  • 2022-12-21 16:34:46
    John Barbour

    I knew Bardwell when I was a child and the Religion faculty families gathered at the Smith home to sing Christmas carols. I knew he was an esteemed professor. In time he became one of my models for teaching Religion at a liberal arts college, along with my father and St. Olaf’s Harold Ditmanson. I did not know Bard well until about fifteen years ago, when we began having lunch together several times a year. He was a wonderful conversation partner: fully present, sympathetic, witty, and perceptive. That twinkle in his eye!
    In the last decade of his life, we helped each other with scholarly projects. He told me that an essay I was writing on Western Buddhist travel narratives deserved to be a book. I took his advice, and the book was published this year. A brief section discusses Bard’s essay on his Shikoku pilgrimage. Nine years ago, Bardwell was pondering whether he should publish his groundbreaking essays on Buddhism in Sri Lanka. I suggested that he submit the manuscript to a series I edit at the University of Virginia Press. The project turned out to demand a lot more work than either of us imagined, and was interrupted and postponed many times by his devoted care for Charlotte, her death, Bard’s moving to assisted care, the covid pandemic, and a series of strokes that prevented him from working on the manuscript. With hired help and the expertise of Roger Jackson, we pushed the project through, and "Precarious Balance: Sinhala Buddhism and the Forces of Pluralism" was published just last summer. It was one of the great joys of my life to put a copy in Bard’s hands and witness his pride and joy in this significant accomplishment.
    We had a warm personal relationship, and Bardwell seemed like the best kind of uncle. As a professor of Religion, he modeled three things that became important to me. He did a lot of scholarship, which is not easy at a liberal arts college that puts teaching first. He was equally engaged with Christianity and Buddhism, finding meaning in the similarities and differences between these traditions. I need all the wisdom I can find, and Bardwell’s wide embrace of many traditions inspires me. Finally, Bard demonstrated a commitment to integrate rigorous critical thought with his own search for religious experience and meaning. These do not always go together, either for academic types or ordinary religious folk! Bardwell wanted personal religious experience as well as intellectual knowledge. He connected the ideas of religions with everything else in life that religion influences: politics, art, emotions, food, gardens, family—you name it.
    I feel both sad that I didn’t get to know Bard earlier and even better, and deeply grateful for the blessings that seemed to radiate from this dear man every time I was with him.

  • 2022-12-21 22:40:14
    Judith Nelson

    Whenever I talked with Bardwell, I felt like a queen. He was so utterly present, attentive, and genuinely interested in everything I had to say. It surprised me and took me aback, how valued I felt with him. I never had the sense that he was plotting his next sentence while I was talking. He was all there with his beautiful, full energy and openness in every moment. I noticed it because it seemed so rare.

    I am a generation behind him, and a Carleton “fac brat”, having grown up practically on the campus with my parents, Bill and Mary Nelson, who were in the music department. Years later, I taught dance at the college, which is when I got to know Bard while attending the UCC church. He was one of the most sincere, benevolent, unpretentious people I’ve ever known. I am deeply grateful for his gifts, and it brings me joy and gratitude to read about all the beauty and inspiration he brought others.
    Wishing you all peace, love, and lots of joy! All we need do is think of Bardwell’s impish smile.

  • 2022-12-26 11:27:51
    Joel Weisberg

    I served on a committee tasked with screening finalists, including Bardwell, for the position of Interim President of Carleton. Coming from a different part of campus, I previously knew him only distantly and by reputation. As part of our committee's work, we were given the finalists' resumes and we also interviewed them. I was awed by so many facets of this multifaceted man, and came away deeply honored to be a part of the same faculty as him. He was a giant and a role model of a broadly engaged faculty member.

  • 2023-03-11 12:39:29
    Margaret Simms, Class of 1967

    I was not a religion major and only took one class for distributional requirements (and not from Bardwell), I first met him in his role as an Episcopal priest, who sometimes celebrated mass in the crypt. But my most vivid memory of him is related to the fact that he reached out to me, one of only four African American students on campus (and the only woman), and invited me into his home for dinner with him and his wife, Charlotte. It was a comfort and helped me settle into the campus, knowing there was someone close by who knew me as an individual and cared that I felt welcome in the small and extremely un-diverse Northfield community. I asked Bardwell to be one of two faculty members at my dinner table during our 50th class reunion. It was good to see him then, and it gave me one last memory of his gracious and caring personality.

  • 2023-03-12 15:48:02
    Beth McKinsey

    Bardwell Smith was indeed a very special person; all the praise in these many tributes is certainly warranted – for his wisdom, kindness, compassion, breadth of knowledge and sympathy, wry wit and punning humor, sparkling smile and gentle calm. His was one of the first homes my husband and I were invited to when I came to Carleton as Dean of the College in 1989, and he and Charlotte - his perfect partner in all things – were always so gracious and warm to Tom and me. He offered me the gentlest of mentoring as a new Dean; since he’d been Dean himself, he called me his little sister, which indicates the kind of support and affection he always showed me. He also invited me to Asian Studies gatherings, not because that was my field (I’m in American Studies and English) but because he knew I’d lived in India and found the experience formative, and I particularly valued those invitations because I was there as a colleague, not as the Dean. Fast forward four years, and I remember meeting Bardwell as we walked onto campus for the first day of classes in September. He immediately fell into step with me and said, “Well, Beth, you’re beginning your fifth year as Dean!” I was impressed that he remembered that; I was too busy to count. Then he said, with his characteristic twinkle, “You know, there’s never been a Dean at Carleton for longer than five years.” My first response was panic, but then I heard his gentle laugh and realized he was actually offering encouragement; indeed, I was in the job for thirteen years and loved (almost) every minute of it, in large part because of Bardwell and other wonderful faculty at Carleton.

    I have many other memories of particular interactions with Bard, but I’ll share just one more. At New Year’s of 1998 we were both in India on our way to the 15th anniversary celebration conference of the ISLE program in Sri Lanka, I to represent Carleton officially (President Steve Lewis was too busy with a major fundraising campaign and he knew I’d want to go) and Bard and Charlotte because he was slated to teach in the program the following semester. We travelled to India separately and met in Bhubaneswar, the ancient Hindu temple town in eastern India where he had wanted to go years before when his trip was interrupted by a family emergency, and the town where I lived with my family between high school and college. It was a special visit for both of us and particularly, for me, since Bard & Charlotte listened kindly to all my memories, while I benefited from Bard’s knowledge of Hindu sacred places. After a few days in Bhubaneswar, we flew to Sri Lanka, with an eight-hour layover in Madras (now Chennai) during which we took a long cab ride to another city (I’m ashamed I don’t remember where) to see a temple that was on Bard’s bucket list. The ride back to the Madras airport was after dark, and the cab driver drove at breakneck speed without using his headlights but making up for that with ample use of his horn. Charlotte and I were clutching each other in the back seat, certain that we were going to die that night, but Bardwell was completely zen and reassuring in the front seat beside the driver. We did indeed arrive safely, and I recovered from the trauma of the ride and had a lovely time with them and others in Sri Lanka.

    Bardwell was indeed the best of Carleton; its best values were his: a love of learning in the classroom and in research; nurturing community and caring among all campus constituents; staying in touch with alumni; welcoming challenges and change and engagement with the world. I’ll think of him every time I stop in the Japanese garden, or think about how important a balance of teaching and scholarship is in a place like Carleton, or when I hear particularly pungent puns. Thank you, Bardwell, for all you did for me and for Carleton; and thank you to all who’ve posted remembrances here for helping me to know him better.

  • 2023-04-05 09:43:42
    David Loy

    I have long regretted that I never took a class from Bardwell, or indeed knew him at all, during my years at Carleton (1965-69); my interest in Buddhism, and religion generally developed only later. I cherish the few brief encounters we had in the years afterwards. In many ways he is for me the model of a committed religious scholar.

  • 2023-04-05 11:24:39
    Nadia Underhill '99

    My work with Bardwell was not in the classroom - he was already retired - but in organizing against a Target in Northfield. I remember his grace, tenacity and thoughtfulness very fondly.

  • 2023-04-05 14:52:47
    Hanna Lee

    I only just learned about his passing, many months after, and I was very sad to learn about it this morning. However, reading through the eulogies and memories of his earlier presence at Carleton, I feel fortunate I had a chance to meet Bardwell and Charlotte when he was an emeritus professor. I recall them as kind people who wouldn't hesitate to reach out and talk to a recent graduate like me at the time. I send my sincere condolences for both Bardwell and Charlotte in learning about their passing after much time, may you rest in peace.

  • 2023-04-10 04:36:56
    Craig Scott ‘83

    A Trilogy in Memory of Bardwell Smith: With a reverent and grateful bow of Gassho

    Craig Scott ‘83, with apologies for my profusion!

    1. A Haiku 

    The glowing spring moon
effervesces love and peace
Bard: Bodhisattva

    2. An Elegy: Moonlight over Villaharta, Andalusia

    The night I learned (by chance and four months late) that you passed into the light, a full spring moon rose from the East, quiet and serene, slowly bathing the valley below Villaharta with a soft, ethereal light.


I pondered your absence as I gazed at that moon, aching at the reality of your departure. No chance to converse and seek your wisdom on death and life’s mysteries and delights and torments. I thought I would see you in June at the reunion.

    Sleep came slowly, memories of you drifting through my mind. In the morning, perched to the west across the hills and valleys, powerful and majestic, the effervescent moon radiated calm and peace and light.

    I sensed your presence in the sacred halo of the dazzling orb and felt some comfort.

    In life, you were a bright, inspiring sun of awakening for me and so many. Now, I feel your spirit in the moonlight, guiding me on the inner/outer journey to the true self, where you and we all shall abide.

    You planted, through your teaching and conversations and actions, seeds of contemplation in me at, and after, Carleton. In the autumn of my life, these seeds bear fruit as I try to follow your footsteps as a pilgrim across the earth.

    As you did so often to me and others, I express my admiration for, and gratitude, to you. 

I bring my hands together and reverently make a bow of Gassho, my teacher, for the many blessings received. I hope to live, as you did, a life of love and joy in service of all beings and all that is.

    3. A Letter from Granada, Spain on Easter Sunday 2023

    I felt close to many fine professors at Carleton — Dick Crouter, Bob Will, Anne Patrick, David Maitland, to name a few. Similarly, Bardwell Smith was a teacher, friend, an inspiration, a father figure and a spiritual guide to me. His influence on me is immense and endures.

    I am moved and amazed by the sweet and poignant tributes to Bardwell from students and colleagues. It was marvelous to learn more about his life and the way his kindness, wit, erudition, wisdom and generosity blessed so many.

    I loved hearing new Bard quotable quotes (last final exam, I teach, we learn, etc) and I remember several gems: “The tragedy of life is that we know nothing; the comedy of life is that we don’t know if that is true” (said with a knowing chuckle); “the problem with men (and women) is that they can’t stay alone in a dark silent room in the dark night” (eg, we avoid our inner selves through convivial distractions); the hilarious story of the young Japanese monk sneaking back into the monastery after a night of revelry and intoxication (he stepped on the head of his meditating zen teacher as he climbed from the wall).

    I also loved the stories of his gentle ministry and care. Thank you for the sharing.


I did not know Charlotte well so it was lovely to learn of her generosity, patience and warm heart as Bardwell ‘s partner. (It must not have been easy sharing him.)

    If I I could have seen him one more time, this is what I would have said:

    Dear Bardwell:

    I thank you for the many gifts received from you since I first studied the religions of India with you in the fall of 1979 and Chinese religious thought during winter 1980. Studying the Shikoku island circular Buddhist walking pilgrimage in Japan in the spring of 1983 profoundly influenced me. 

    Meeting you was a stroke of good fortune.

    Our meetings and conversations continued throughout my adult life as you wrote recommendations helping secure my admission to prestigious universities and helped me wrestle with, find comfort in, my faith. I brought my children and partner to meet you because I wanted them to feel your kind and wise presence. At our last meeting in 2017 you helped me prepare to finally walk the Shikoku island Buddhist 88 temple pilgrimage in Japan.

    At the 2023 Reunion, I hoped to share with you my epiphanies from Shikoku and my intention to walk one pilgrimage a year. I wanted to hear of your experience walking the Camino to Campostela, Spain and how you seem to fruitfully practice several religions (Buddhism and Christianity). I mourn your absence.


I am so grateful to you:

    You were the first teacher to truly give attention to me, to make feel I was a bright light through generous encouragement.

    Reading “The Way of All the Earth: Experiments in Truth and Religion” by John Donne inspired me to begin a lifelong quest to learn from other religions and cultures with an open heart.

    You helped me make one of the best decisions of my life: to stay at Carleton instead of transferring to Yale to trump my father (you said Carleton offered a better education and how right you were.)

    You planted “seeds of contemplation” in me: Katagiri Roshi taught me meditation (a lifelong practice); you suggested Thomas Merton’s “New Seeds of Contemplation” to learn about the mystical path; and you invited me in 2001 to walk the Shikoku pilgrimage with you (I was busy working in Manila and couldn’t come, which I regret now), planting another seed which bore fruit in 2017.

    And now you have passed into the light. I miss you deeply. Each full moon will remind me what a gentle, mirthful, joyful and kind being you were. You inspire me to continue my inner journey to the true self and to try to spread kindness and laughter and peace with each breath.


  • 2023-04-12 10:27:32
    Ruth Yeomans, class of '66, biology major

    I took a number of classes in eastern religions from him, and he greatly opened my heart-mind. He married me and another Carl at my home on the Mississippi River. Not too many years later years later I spent some time with him while he was attending some meeting in Seattle. I told him I had gotten divorced and had come out as gay. With a smile and a twinkle in his eye and a chuckle he said, Well, that was a sacrament that didn't take very well! On a trip to Japan I experienced many things that Bardwell had talked about. I was fortunate to visit him, Ian Barbour, and Charlotte (who offered us cookies and tea) in their retirement home. Thanks in part to their influence, I have become a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. Now, off topic, but not really, I want to mention Patrick Milburn, instructor in the bio dept., who passed away a few years ago. He and I conversed by phone ever Sunday for a long time, and Bardwell came up many times in these conversations. A small anecdote: One day Patrick and Bardwell were walking across campus and Patrick mentioned he had been feeling rather depressed. Bardwell asked, what have you been reading? Oh, I've been reading a lot of Kafka. Bardwell said, put down the Kafka and read something else for a while. The instant drop of therapy worked!

  • 2023-04-12 19:44:27
    Laura Nadelhoffer, '78, Geology Major

    I was on the ACM India Studies program that Bardwell and Charlotte led to Pune in 1977. This was an amazing experience to have at age 21; and it taught me so much about Asia, and life, and my own inner fortitude. I studied Indian Kathak dance with Prabha Marathe, the cave paintings of Ajanta, music history with one of the great tabla players of that time (Bhaskar Chandowakar), the Marathi language, Indian history and poetry (Tagore!)....and so much more. And I learned how to adapt to living in a completely different culture. I can still see myself and classmates from Carleton and other colleges all sitting in a circle while Bardwell helped us learn how to meditate and calm our minds, while we adjusted to this world that would be our home for the next 6 months. He was such a great teacher and leader and friend. And he gave interesting travel suggestions too: there was that time he suggested we (5 of us girls) take a 36 hour overnight train south to Tiruchirappalli in Southern India to fly to Sri Lanka to visit friends of his in Columbo -- and then explore the jungle to find the famous sleeping Buddha in Kandy. The trip of a lifetime and no other tourists, because of the civil war (!). My India adventures helped teach me how to take risks and to be open to new learnings, which has stood me in good stead throughout my career. And I owe this to Bardwell Smith. I feel so lucky to have been able to visit him every 5 years at reunion. I only hope my children are lucky enough to have a teacher and mentor as kind and wise as Bardwell. As it is written on the tunnel walls: "Bardwell Smith is a Bodhisattva". Rest in Peace dear professor and friend.

  • 2023-04-20 16:42:24
    Steve Duermeyer `64

    I wish I had known him better.
    I wish I had emulated him more.

  • 2023-05-23 09:36:57
    Karen Beall (Dale Haworth)

    Bard and Charlotte meant so much to Dale and me as very dear friends. I am writing late as my beloved Dale died on May 14 and recent weeks and months have been very preoccupied with his care. Bard was always generous, kind, witty, and interesting. Dale worked with him from the early 1960s to establish a strong Asiasn Studies program. It was very rewarding in many ways over the years and to me, Karen, when he urged Dale to apply to teach in the AKP Program in 1983. That term in Kyoto was life changing for me. I am an art historian as was Dale but I had had little background in east Asian art. It was from Kyoto Bard and Charlotte went to Korea in search of Sam's birth mother. We had a very moving conversation when they returned successful in that quest. We later met her at Sam's wedding. Bard and Charlotte also came to visit us after Dale retired and we moved to Santa Fe, NM. As usual, our conversations were wide ranging and had depth. Thanks to the friendship and experiences it brought I have a lifelong interest in Japanese art, religion, and history. Dale returned to AKP in 1994 and was Visiting Professor of Humanities at ICU, Mitaka, Tokyo in 1994 and we subsequently led two 3 week Carleton alumni tours to Japan (2002 and 2003). We recall lovely Christmas eve's with them on Maple Street, and countless groans from puns over the decades!
    Our last visit was on the occasion of Dale's 90th birthday eight years ago when we visited them in their retirement apartment and the Paas gave a lovely party for our special friends. They were exceptional as individuals and an exceptional couple. It was a privilege to know them so well.

  • 2023-07-13 08:26:40
    Michael Harvey

    To The Smith Family. Your father completely captivated me in 1974 when I took his survey course on Asian religion during my first term at Carleton. Although I only had enough money for a year and a half at Carleton, I took every course he taught starting with my second semester. I majored in "Bardwell Smith." It was a wise choice. I was invited over for dinner, where I met Mrs. Smith and ultimately, their daughter Laura. Now, at 70, I look back and am so thankful for your father, mother, and all of you. Thank you for sharing your parents. The death of your father has been harder for me than the deaths of my own parents. I guess I expected your dad to live forever. I corresponded with him via email less than a year before he died. I found a small Buddhist temple in the woods near my home in Joseph, Oregon and reported it to him. He responded in his typical gracious manner. My long career in advanced semiconductor technology led me to spend decades in Asia leading businesses. Mr. Smith was with me in spirit. I would be having dinner with a business or government leader and something Mr. Smith said would come to mind. When I struggled with the management of over 350 employees, I would remember something Mr. Smith had said. When I struggled with marital or family life, Mr. Smith came to mind. My wife of 45 years, born in China, has heard about Mr. Smith since almost our first meeting in a sewing factory in Berkeley. Our mixed kids all know of Mr. Smith and how important he is to me. Thank you all very very much. A deep "Gassho" bow to each of you. Sincerely, Mike

  • 2023-11-12 16:04:12
    Anthony Chambers

    I got to know Bard well during the 1980s and 1990s through our mutual connection with the Associated Kyoto Program. We spent a semester together in Kyoto in 1983 when he was the Resident Director and led us on a walking pilgrimage of Buddhist temples on the island of Shikoku, an experience I'll never forget. Bard was always kind, positive, wise, and a brilliant teacher. What a gift to humanity he was, and how I miss him!

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