Donald J. Munro, 1931-2023

I have just learned that Donald J. Munro, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Chinese at the University of Michigan, has passed away. Don was a wonderful human being: caring and insightful mentor to many of us; pioneering scholar and teacher; as well as loving father and husband. He will be greatly missed.

7 replies on “Donald J. Munro, 1931-2023”

  1. I had the privilege of spending time with Don here in Ann Arbor. He was a scholar’s scholar–always inquisitive, open to new ideas and new sources of information, generous, meticulous, and modest. We first met from a distance, when he took a chance and wrote an Introduction for my translation of C. C. Tsai’s Zhuangzi Speaks comic book. He loved to tell the story of how he got the request from the press, was disinclined, and then convinced by his friends out at his cabin in the woods. They said he shouldn’t be so stuffy. When I came to town and began as a young professor at EMU, he welcomed me as a colleague of equal stature, without a hint of superiority or smugness. I’ll always treasure the memories of conversations with him and his wife, Ann, and be grateful for his generosity in welcoming me to the community. He encouraged me to go forward with The Philosophical Challenge from China and contributed a chapter. And I had the privilege of co-editing his festschrift, New Life for Old Ideas, where you can clearly witness his broad intellectual engagement. Before he moved to Utah, he let me go through what remained of his book collection. The many signed copies of volumes from colleagues–and the warm-hearted notes–are a testament to his wide influence and affectionate bonds built over decades. Although I don’t know much about the details (due to his modesty), but he was also financially generous the the U. of M. and intellectually generous to many political initiatives in Michigan. I’ll be happy if I can be half the scholar and human being he was. I miss him dearly.

  2. Just seeing this now. Very sorry to hear it. I’ve always marveled at the diverse range of students Don produced, and had the real pleasure of meeting him at CUHK over 15 years ago when I was a visitor there. Like others have also written, I was struck by his generosity of spirit and his seeming genuine curiosity to get to know me, a lowly graduate student. My thanks to everyone for sharing your own memories of him.

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