Richard H. “Dick” Ward, the associate vice president for special programs and sponsored research and the former dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, died at his home in Bethany, Conn. on Tuesday, Feb. 17. He was 75.
Ward joined the University of New Haven in 2008 as dean of Lee College and served in that capacity until 2012, when he was named associate vice president for special programs and sponsored research.
During an academic career that spanned more than 40 years, Ward was involved in virtually every aspect of academic life as a faculty member, senior administrator and mentor for many generations of students and University employees.
He was the author of numerous books and articles that crossed the depth of his field, and he directed research projects that spanned countless countries and continents.
In addition to making more than 100 professional presentations, he served as a consultant and trainer to numerous local, state, federal and international agencies on the subjects of international organized crime, global terrorism, criminal investigation and criminal justice issues.
“Dick was passionately committed to improving public safety and assuring justice around the globe,” said Daniel J. May, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “He did just that throughout his life, starting with his military service as a U.S. Marine, his service on the New York City Police Department and then as a leading academic and administrator.”
Ward visited more than 50 countries and taught in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He received numerous awards in his lifetime, including the Friendship Medal by the government of China and the ACJS Founders Award. Ward also founded the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG) at UNH to study global terrorism.
Ward was born in Jamaica, N.Y., on Sept. 2, 1939. He grew up in New York City and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1957, serving until 1961 with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, primarily in the areas of security and special operations.
After the military, Ward returned to New York City, where became a member of the New York Police Department, serving as a patrolman, youth investigator and, eventually, as a detective until 1970. While working as a police officer, Ward pursued a master’s degree at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He received a bachelor's degree in 1967 and was awarded a scholarship to graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in criminology in 1971.
Ward began teaching at John Jay College in 1970 and eventually moved into administration. His various jobs included serving as the dean of graduate studies, the dean of students and, finally, as vice president of John Jay College. He then became the longest-serving vice chancellor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, holding the position for 16 years.
His other jobs included serving as associate vice chancellor at the University of Illinois at Chicago for special programs and as dean of the College of Criminal Justice and associate vice president for research at Sam Houston State University.
Ward is survived by his wife, Michelle; three children, Jeanne, John and Sophia; two grandchildren; his sister; and many nieces, nephews and in-laws.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be designated to the Richard and Michelle Ward Endowed Scholarship at the University of New Haven. Checks can be made out to the University of New Haven, c/o The Richard and Michelle Ward Endowed Scholarship, Office of Advancement, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 06516.