In Memoriam: History Professor Emeritus Peter J. Seybolt
- By Craig E Wells
History Professor Emeritus Peter J. Seybolt, 77, died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. Born Aug. 15, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was the son of the late Crosby Jordan Seybolt and Jean Bond Seybolt. He was educated at Cincinnati Country Day School (1952); the University of Cincinnati (B.A. 1956); and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1970 in History and East Asian Languages); and he served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958. He moved to Underhill in 1969 with his wife, Cynthia Taylor Seybolt, to whom he was married for more than 50 years.
From 1969 through 2007, he was a professor of history at the University of Vermont, teaching courses on the histories of China and Japan and U.S. relations with Asia. For many years, he was also the Director of Asian Studies, and administrator of the Chinese and Japanese language programs. Under his initiative, a department of Asian Languages and Literatures was established at the University of Vermont in 2007, the first new department in the College of Arts and Sciences in more than fifty years. He published seven books, including edited and translated volumes, many articles on Chinese history and culture, and for a number of years edited a journal of translations on Chinese education and society.
His community service activities included the Underhill Planning Commission, the Development Review Board, and the United Way of Chittenden County Allocations Committee. He was a founding member of the Vermont Mozart Festival Board. Peter loved life and passionately pursued many interests. He and Cynthia traveled extensively in China, Europe and Central America, often with their children and grandchildren. When at home in Vermont, he enjoyed gardening, cooking and wine, music and art, and exploring Vermont on skis and by bike. He is survived by his wife Cynthia; children, Taylor Bond Seybolt, married to Susan W. Seybolt, and Amy Seybolt Tomasi, married to John O. Tomasi; grandchildren Willa, Potter, and Reed Seybolt, and Peter and Lydia Tomasi; sisters, Gail Seybolt Bain and Janice Seybolt Theron; and extended family.
Donations in Peter's memory may be made to the University of Vermont Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, the University of Vermont Asian Studies Program, c/o The University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Main St. Burlington, VT 05401 888-458-8691; or a charity of your choice. There will be a celebration of his life at the Seybolts' house, Underhill Center, on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 4 p.m. ,