Kim Tunnicliff, 56, international educator, public servant

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Kim H. Tunnicliff, Ph.D., was killed early Thursday, June 16, in a head-on collision near Mansfield, Ohio. He was on his way back to his home in Wooster, Ohio, following a visit with his family in Oak Park.

Born in Davenport, Iowa, on Nov. 7, 1954 to Philip and Nancy Tunnicliff, he earned his B.A. in history and political science from Macalester College and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa. He married Virginia (Ginny) Blum on Jan. 7, 1984 in Hampton, Iowa.

A man of many interests, he led a rich, full life. His defining characteristics included a scholarly temperament, an acerbic wit, a towering devotion to his family, a passionate belief in public service, and a conviction that world travel — especially for young people — was the foundation for cross-cultural understanding on which peace and understanding could be built.

Throughout his career, he worked to develop experiential and international educational experiences for college students. From 1985-1999, Kim served as director of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service at Albion College in Albion, Mich., where he also taught International Relations, American Foreign Policy, and Soviet Politics. In 1988, he directed the Great Lakes Jerusalem Program in Jordan, Israel and Palestine. He served on the Albion City Council from 1994-99 and served as mayor from 1997-99. In 1996, he was the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan's 7th District.

In 1999, Kim became vice president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest in Chicago and had administrative responsibility for study abroad programs in Russia, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Tanzania. He was the director of International Studies at Augustana College in Rock Island from 2007-2010. In 2010, he was appointed director of Off-Campus Studies at the College of Wooster.

Dr. Tunnicliff worked tirelessly, mentoring students for academic programs abroad and overseeing the development and implementation of undergraduate studies programs around the world. He was highly regarded by his academic colleagues and the many students he served while at Albion, ACM, Augustana and the College of Wooster. His career took him all over the world, overseeing programs in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia.

He had a voracious appetite for reading, a love of old movies, a longstanding devotion to the Chicago White Sox and a recently cultivated enthusiasm for the Vancouver Canucks.

He loved spending time with his family. Recently, while talking with a friend about his three children, he said, "Well, they're all smart-alecks and they all know how to play Bridge, so my job is done."

Kim Tunnicliff is survived by his wife, Ginny; their children Alison, Graham and Ian, of Oak Park; his brother, Scott (Melita) Tunnicliff; his mother, Nancy; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Philip H. Tunnicliff in 1984.

Memorial services will be held on July 1 at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park and on July 9 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa.

Memorials may be made to the Kim Tunnicliff Memorial Fund at Albion College, the Kim Tunnicliff Family Fund for Hydrocephalus Research at the University of Chicago Hospitals or the College of Wooster.

Reader Comments

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Susan Montgomery from Chicago  

Posted: June 30th, 2011 8:23 AM

Kim was an outstanding individual and will be missed. My deepest sympathies to his family.

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