Obituary: Ronald F. Moffat

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Ron Moffatt, 61, a leader in the field of International Student Studies, died peacefully at his home in Lemon Grove on Friday, April 18, 2008, from the effects of cancer. He was a former resident of Idyllwild.

Ron spent more than three decades helping students across borders learn about the world beyond their comfort zones, and in the process, guided them through transformative journeys that might shape a more just, pacific and sustainable global future. Ron became the director of the International Student Center (ISC) at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 1984 after serving as the coordinator of International Programs at the University of Arkansas beginning in 1977.

SDSU’s international student community numbered about 500 students when Ron arrived in 1984. Today, there are more than 1,450, with graduate students slightly exceeding undergraduates. Under Ron’s leadership, ISC staff are advocates for SDSU’s international students, sensitive to the issues impeding recruitment and retention of visiting scholars in the post 9/11 era.

Ron had served in numerous leadership positions in his field and was the 2007 board president of the 10,000-member organization NAFSA: Association of International Educators. He was involved with NAFSA from 1977 through 2008, starting as state chair from Arkansas in 1977, chairing the Public Policy Advisory Committee and Development Committee, and eventually becoming a member of the worldwide Board of Directors in 2002.

Ron also served in a variety of volunteer capacities that helped him better understand what life looks and feels like from non-western, non-privileged perspectives projects. Most recently, he had been an active member of the Advisory Board of the Wang Foundation in support of its poverty alleviation and distance learning projects in rural China, and he was the co-founder of the Global Civil Society Network for International Educators.

Ron was a native of Pottstown, Pa. He graduated in 1965 from The Loomis Institute (now the Loomis Chaffee School) in Windsor, Conn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology while graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1969, and received a master’s of education in Student Personnel Administration and Intercultural Communications from the University of Delaware in 1977.

Ron’s hobbies included extensive reading on a variety of subjects, writing, traveling, hiking with his wife and son, and loving mankind.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and his son, Nielsen, both of Lemon Grove; his two daughters, Kyrra of Loma Linda, and Kali of Atlanta; his brother, James, of Cape May, N.J.; and his sister, Camille Bertram, of Fairfield, Conn.

A memorial service is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Scripps Cottage patio on the campus of San Diego State University. In lieu of flowers, Ron’s family has asked that donations in Ron’s name be made to either the San Diego State University International Student Center; NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) headquartered in Washington, DC; or the Wang Foundation of Pebble Beach.

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