Milan Vidakovic (current Ph.D. student) has been selected as a 2015-2016 Joff Hanuaer Excellence in Wester Civilization Graduate Fellow. Selections were based on their record of achievement and commitment to critical study of Western culture. As a Hanauer fellow, MIlan will participate in a bi-monthly seminar led by Professor Galya Diment, Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization.
*Joff Hanauer Program for Excellence in Western Civilization:
Gerard Hanauer, known to his friends as Jerry, created this endowment in 2007 to honor the memory of his son Joff, who died tragically in 1998 after an automobile accident.
Jerry Hanauer was born in Germany in 1927 to a family that had been in the feather and bedding business for decades. His family left Nazi Germany in 1935, moving first to Liechtenstein and then to Seattle in 1941. Jerry attended the University of Washington from 1946 to 1950, studying psychology, journalism and philosophy, and a pre-med curriculum. By his own account, he then "ran away" from Seattle and spent the next fifteen years in New York City's Greenwich Village. He worked as a businessman on Wall Street and Madison Avenue by day and spent his evenings as a bohemian intellectual, lacking the discipline to pursue his original path of writing.
In 1965 Jerry moved back to Seattle with his wife Lenore and their sons to work in the family business, Pacific Coast Feather Company. The intertwined history of the family and the company is told in the book, A Good Night's Sleep, The Pacific Coast Feather Story (2006). Always interested in art and culture, Jerry attended evening classes studying history and literature at the University of Washington. His "day job" at Pacific Coast Feather began to improve, and with his family he led the company to become the largest basic bedding company (pillows, comforters, mattress pads, etc.) in North America. He passed away in December 2007.
Through this fund, it was Jerry Hanauer's wish to encourage collaboration across disciplines among faculty and graduate students teaching and pursuing scholarly work in Western Civilization. The fund includes endowed professorships as well as endowed graduate fellowships in order to create a community of scholars.