On his way to Minneapolis not long ago, Herb Hildebrandt stumbled on an Asian studies conference hosted by St. Olaf College. As a University of Michigan emeritus professor he has spent decades pursuing research in Asia, so he attended one of the sessions at the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs and left with a deep appreciation for the quality of Asian studies at St. Olaf.
That appreciation for the strength of the college’s academic programs prompted Hildebrandt and his wife Delores to establish the Herbert W. and Delores D. Hildebrandt Asian Scholarship Fund. As a future endowed scholarship that will be legacy funded, it aims to increase support for Asian student scholarship at St. Olaf.
Although he retired from the University of Michigan in 1998 after forty years of teaching, research, and administrative service, Hildebrandt recently received two grants from the university to update a research project on China that he completed a decade ago. His current investigation seeks to compare Chinese business managers of today with those of the past.
Establishing the scholarship at St. Olaf is a way for Hildebrandt, who held full professorships in both the Ross School of Business and the Communication Studies Department at the University of Michigan, to give something back to individuals and enterprises that have helped him over the years.
A Korean war veteran and lifelong Lutheran, he lived in Asia for several months each year for nearly three decades, lecturing, teaching, and conducting research in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, and India. During that time, he relied on the assistance of a wide range of people throughout Asia.
“It’s a way of saying ‘thank you,'” says Hildebrandt, a resident of Ann Arbor, Mich. “Too often we only take, without giving back. I’m comfortable, as part of my Christian heritage, to express gratitude via a distinguished Lutheran college to Asian students selected for this scholarship. St Olaf is strongly and deeply academically involved in Asia.”
— Reprinted from the St. Olaf Magazine, winter 2011