Arizona Summer Wildcat June 17, 1998
2 former UA department heads die
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Two former University of Arizona department heads known for balancing their strict demeanors with their tender hearts died in Tucson last month.
Former Department of Journalism head Philip Mangelsdorf succumbed to cancer May 15 at the age of 74. Joe Malik Jr., who founded the Russian and Slavic Languages Department, died May 28 of heart failure. He was 78.
Mangelsdorf was instrumental in the UA journalism program's 1964 inception. He headed the department from 1967 to 1973.
Born Sept. 26, 1923, in Atchison, Kan., Mangelsdorf attended college at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington before becoming a reporter for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas. He worked from 1952 to 1956 for the Associated Press as an editor, political writer and a foreign correspondent in pre-Communist Cuba. After that, he was on the Arizona Daily Star staff for six years and spent another two years at the Seattle Times.
During his time as journalism head, Mangelsdorf created the journalism graduate program.
"He tended frequently to be gruff and tough, but in reality he had a bleeding heart like most journalism teachers," said Jim Patten, who now heads the journalism department. "He brought his own sense of goodness and humanity despite his outward toughness."
Mangelsdorf also served as the first faculty adviser for the Tombstone Epitaph when the journalism program took over the historic newspaper in 1975. He was named the UA's Outstanding Faculty Member in 1974 and in 1976 garnered the title of Outstanding Journalism Educator by the Arizona Newspapers' Association.
Joe Malik Jr. began his teaching career as a Russian and Czech instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. For the final four years of his Texas tenure, he served as head of the Slavic department before coming to the UA to embark on a new program.
"We lived in Austin at the time, and the UA dean called Joe wanting to get somebody to come start a Russian program," said Malik's wife, Pauline. "So Joe was telling him about this person and that person. He said, 'I'll tell ya, Joe, you don't need to go any further. I want you.'"
Malik, a native of Charles, Ill., came to Arizona in 1960, serving within the German department until his program gained independence in 1970.
"He had so many students, that he would have people standing in lines in the halls waiting to see him," Pauline added. "Whether they majored in Russian or not, he was ready to give advice. He liked to have fun, but he was strict when it came to his classes."
Joe Ervin, one of Malik's former teaching assistants, now heads the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, a position Malik once held.
"He really took AATSEEL over when Russian enrollments were starting to drop," Ervin said, "but AATSEEL's economic situation got better. He picked up a very precarious organization and made it solvent."
Malik headed the department until 1985 and retired from the UA in 1989.
He is survived by his wife; two daughters, Lisa and Tamara; and a son, Joe Malik III.
"He was a frustrated musician and they all became musicians," Pauline said of their grown children, whose careers range from band director to dancer.
Mangelsdorf is survived by daughters Caroline Mangelsdorf of Nicosia, Cyprus, and Katherine Mangelsdorf of Las Cruces, N.M.; son, Matthew; and three sisters, one brother, two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.