The Institute of General Semantics has learned that Dr. Sanford I. Berman — 2003 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer, sponsor of the Sanford I. Berman Award for Excellence in Teaching General Semantics, general semantics author, scholar, and longtime donor — passed away on June 16, 2015.
Dr. Sanford I. Berman, philanthropist, real estate investor, professional hypnotist, and former board member of the Institute of General Semantics, passed away on June 16, 2015.
The son of a livestock broker, Berman was born Oct. 15, 1924 in Virginia, Minnesota, a small town north of Duluth. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Radio and Communications from the University of Minnesota; a Master’s in Speech from Teacher’s College, Columbia University; and a doctorate in Speech Communications from Northwestern University, where he then assisted Dr. Irving J. Lee in his famous general-semantics classes. Berman served as president of the International Society for General Semantics, and was on the Board of Trustees of both the Society and the Institute of General Semantics.
As of the year 2000, Berman had given more than a million dollars to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); San Diego State University (SDSU); and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Berman endowed the Sanford I. Berman Institute for Effective Communication and General Semantics at SDSU in 1997, the Sanford I. Berman Chair in Language and Human Communication at UCSD in 1998, the Dr. Sanford I. Berman Professorship of Public Discourse and General Semantics at UNLV in 1999, and UNLV’s Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum.
Books relating to general semantics by Berman include Words, Meanings and People, The Closed Mind, How to Lessen Misunderstandings, and Why Do We Jump to Conclusions? Berman acted as editor for Logic and General Semantics: Writings of Oliver L. Reiser and Others and he created over 100 audio tapes on motivation and general semantics. Sanford I. Berman was a towering figure in the field of general semantics and he will be greatly missed by GSers all over the world.
The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a profile of Dr. Berman’s extraordinary life as a hypnotist and general semanticist in its July 5th obituary announcement.
IGS is in possession of Dr. Berman’s educational cassettes, which it hopes to make available in MP3 versions by year’s end in the IGS Store.