Remembering Journalist, Author, and Professor Jack Shepherd

A prolific author and dedicated teacher, Shepherd taught in the Department of Environmental Studies and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program.

Jack Shepherd, retired professor of environmental studies, passed away at his home in Norwich on December 26 at 85 years old. 

"A longtime member of our community who taught regularly in the Department of Environmental Studies and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, Jack is remembered for his excellence in teaching, his contributions to the department and its Africa foreign study program, and his collegiality," Dean Elizabeth F. Smith said in a message to the Dartmouth community.

Shepherd was born in 1937 in Summit, N.J. He completed his BA at Haverford College, his MA at Columbia School of Journalism, and his PhD at Boston University. He wrote in many fields, ranging from personal health and American history to protection of the natural environment.  As a young journalist for Look Magazine, Shepherd witnessed and wrote about civil rights struggles in America and famines in Nigeria and Ethiopia. These experiences shaped his life's work, and he devoted himself to writing about food insecurity, chronic hunger, and the affliction of poverty.

Shepherd came to Dartmouth in 1988, at which point he served as academic director of the War and Peace Studies Program and taught in the Environmental Studies Program. From 1993 to 1999, he served as director of the Global Security Fellows Initiative at the University of Cambridge, where he taught graduate students as well as the mid-career professionals. He welcomed many interns from Dartmouth's Dickey Center to assist with the program as part of their Cambridge experience. 

Returning to Dartmouth in 2000, Shepherd taught undergraduate courses on developing states, food security, and resource scarcities in the environmental studies department. He led the relocation of the department's Africa foreign study program to southern Africa. With his wife, Kathleen Shepherd, Shepherd led nine undergraduate study groups to east and southern Africa. He also taught several courses on politics and environmentalism in the MALS Program, specifically on food scarcity and water issues in regions undergoing rapid transformation. 

Alongside his work teaching and leading programs at Dartmouth, Shepherd published over 100 articles in publications including the New York Times, Look Magazine, Newsweek, Harper's, the Atlantic, and Reader's Digest. The author of nine books, he wrote in genres ranging from satire to investigative reporting. His books include Quotations from Chairman LBJ, The Almanack of Poor Richard Nixon, The Super Summer of Jamie McBride, The Forest Killers, The Adams Chronicles, The Politics of Starvation, Cannibals of the Heart: The Lives of John Quincy and Catherine Adams, and Runner's Handbook

In 2010, based on his teaching at Dartmouth, Shepherd wrote Hunger: The Biology and Politics of Starvation with John Butterly, an investigation of the biology of human malnutrition and associated health-related factors, the political theories of chronic malnutrition and starvation, and the historical behaviors that cause hunger and malnutrition to remain major health problems today. Additionally, Shepherd published papers on environmental issues and resource scarcity in Africa, and he delivered dozens of lectures on resource scarcity, environmental refugees, and global security concerns. 

A memorial gathering for Shepherd will take place on Saturday, February 18, at 2 p.m. at the Hanover Friends Meeting at 43 Lebanon Street. 

Shepherd's obituary can be found at Knight Funeral Home.