David R. Cameron
Yale University

Richard Ira Hofferbert died on July 6, 2011 at his home in Florida. He was 74. I first encountered Rick when I was an undergraduate at Williams College in the early 1960s. He had joined the Williams faculty as an assistant professor with a freshly-minted Ph.D. from Indiana. I took a class with him on American state and local politics and another on public opinion and political behavior and experienced what all of the students who took classes with him throughout his career discovered - a teacher who, through his enthusiasm for the subject matter, wit, force of personality and intelligence, made the comparative study of public policy, whether across the American states or among national governments, exciting.

Rick was a small-d democrat from rural Indiana. Perhaps for that reason, he treated students as partners in the scholarly enterprise. More than any other professor, Rick exemplified what U.S. President James Garfield, reminiscing about his alma mater, once said about Mark Hopkins, a professor of philosophy and long-time president (1836-72) of Williams: "The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other." Rick was my Mark Hopkins.

Several years later, I was completing a degree in politics at the London School of Economics and trying to decide whether to go to law school or continue graduate study in political science. One day as I perused college catalogues in the LSE library, I discovered that Rick was in the Government Department of Cornell University. That settled the question. I applied to Cornell and a few months later arrived in Ithaca as a first-year student in the Ph.D. program.

While still a leading contributor, with Thomas Dye and Ira Sharkansky, to the empirical analysis of public policy in the American states, Rick was also developing a strong interest in investigating the variations in policy outcomes across the subnational units of other countries and identifying the social, economic and political sources of those variations. He immediately included me in his small research group, Compols, and, knowing that I read French and that France had a large number of dÚpartements and census reports going back to the mid-nineteenth century, suggested I start building a dataset for France. Long before finishing it, we wrote the first of our several co-authored papers on the electoral base of Charles de Gaulle's support in the early years of the Fifth Republic. ("Continuity and Change in Gaullism: The General's Legacy," American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 27, February 1973, pp. 77-98.)

Rick was serving as Cornell's representative to the Inter-University Consortium for Political Research (ICPR, later ICPSR), headquartered at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1970, he accepted an offer to become the executive director of the ICPR and a professor in the Department of Political Science and arranged for three of us in the Compols group to accompany him to Ann Arbor and enter Michigan's Ph.D. program.

Rick's administrative duties at ICPR took an enormous amount of time and energy. But he took them on with great enthusiasm and played the pivotal role in developing it into the organization we know today as the ICPSR. In particular, he broadened its scope beyond its American core by developing its ties with the European Consortium for Political Research and scholars and universities throughout Europe and beyond. As he did, he developed professional and personal relationships with scholars in Europe and elsewhere, many of whom became life-long friends and scholarly colleagues.

As time-consuming as those duties were, Rick continued to be first and foremost a scholar of public policy, and he continued to broaden the geographic and substantive focus of his study of policy. He received a National Science Foundation grant to study education finance in federal systems and embarked on a multi-year study of education finance in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Switzerland. The project combined extensive analysis of data for the subnational units of the four countries and interviews with policy-makers in the states, provinces and cantons and resulted in several publications including an article Rick and I published. ("The Impact of Federalism on Education Finance: A Comparative Analysis," European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 2, September 1974, pp. 225-58.)

Rick received his Ph.D. when he was 25, three years after receiving the B.A. He sometimes joked that, given my meandering path of graduate study, I might end up a "graduate student emeritus." But eventually, I finished the dissertation and my long apprenticeship with Rick came to an end, at about the time Rick and Rose and their sons Mark and Sam moved to Binghamton.

Rick taught at Binghamton for 24 years until his retirement in 1999. During his years at Binghamton, Rick continued his research on public policy, wrote many articles and several books - most notably among the latter, Parties, Policies, and Democracy with Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Ian Budge, directed several research centers, rebuilt the doctoral program, developed a master's program in public policy analysis, and attracted many, many students to the study of public policy. At the time of his death he was Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

David R. Cameron
Yale University
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