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In Memoriam: Dr. John P. Robinson

Dr. John P. Robinson (Courtesy of UMD)

Dear colleagues,

This week, I learned of the passing of a colleague and mentor, Dr. John P. Robinson, Professor emeritus of Sociology at the University of Maryland. He was a co-author with Dick Brecht, myself, and several other researchers, on a number large-scale national randomly stratified surveys of attitudes towards language policy, multilingualism, immigration, and tolerance, starting in 2000 and continuing until 2016.

John helped design the National Language Service Corps as part of the team at the Center for Advanced Study of Language, in the early aughts; he led the polling work and data mining for the first National Language Conference, hosted by the Secretary of Defense in 2004; he worked on the “Languages for All” Summit in 2013, which led directly to the Commission on Language Learning. John was instrumental in JNCL-NCLIS’ recent survey work on Global Talent, and his advice on survey methodology and analytic techniques was crucial to more than 20 years of research on how Americans understand our multilingual, global world.

He passed in Glendale, Los Angeles late last month at 83, and I will miss him greatly.


Bill Rivers

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