Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

MIIS Community Mourns Loss of Professor Stephen Garrett

Steve Garrett and Son Christer

Professor Stephen Garrett with his son Crister (MAIPS ’97).

June 17, 2011

Stephen Garrett joined the Monterey Institute of International Studies faculty in 1974, specializing in teaching courses on U.S. foreign policy, ethics and international affairs, and the intelligence community. It was with great sadness that the MIIS community received news of his passing on Saturday, June 11, after a brave struggle over the past few months following a recent surgery.

Professor Garrett was a beloved member of the Monterey Institute faculty, inspiring students with his knowledge and wonderful spirit. For 37 years he kept pushing students to do their very best work while infecting them with his endless enthusiasm and sharp humor. Alumni from around the world have kept in touch with Steve over the years as he served as mentor, teacher, and friend. He left an indelible mark with members of the MIIS community near and far, as demonstrated by the great number of cards and letters he received from students and alumni during his illness.

“The family asked us to pass along just how wonderful all the cards sent to Steve were, and how much they meant to him. Each and every card was read to him, and he was so grateful, as was his family,” said Leah Gowron, director of alumni relations.

An appropriate remembrance honoring Professor Garrett will be organized when faculty and students return to campus in the fall, and announced to the Institute community and alumni.


Professor Garrett will be greatly missed. He was a thoughtful and encouraging instructor who gave even the quietest student a voice.

If anyone was an icon at MIIS, it was Steve Garrett! What a grievous loss! What a class act he was!

I was at MIIS only briefly, back in the late 1980s. But in my short time there, Prof. Garrett mentored me and helped me tremendously, and I remember him fondly.

I just learned today of his passing and I am deeply moved. He was one of the most influential professors I had while I was at MIIS and I am saddened by the news of his passing. Professor Garrett believed in all his students to achieve their very best, he truly cared about young minds and filled those minds with the truth about the world - his Human Rights class was one of the most impactful courses at MIIS and no one would be able to quite fill his shoes. He supported me in my Fulbright application and I was able to go onwards to keep educating myself and enlighten myself as he enlighten others. You will be missed and hope you rest in peace Professor Garrett.

Steve knew I was a runner and invited me and few other students and professors to participate in a 10K run through Pfeiffer State National Park in Big Sur. It was a glorious morning and we ran through the forest with beams of light piercing the morning dew. At about the halfway mark, deep in the woods, we passed a four string quartet dressed in tuxedos playing Vivaldi. Bewildered, I looked at Steve and said "did you see that? and he replied "No".

I am saddened that Steve is no longer with us. He gave me a jewel of an experience and one that that I will always treasure. Thank you Steve.

Dr. Garrett helped his students take their learning to new levels. He engaged those in his classes in a way brought out everyone's best thinking. I am saddened to hear of MIIS's loss and wish his family the best.

Dr. Garrett was a fantastic professor who knew how to bring out everyone's best thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed his classes and have fond memories of our discussions. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

No other teacher impressed me as much as Prof. Garrett. I loved the man and the professor. At first, he intimidated me so much (I was still struggling with my spoken English) that I avoided his class. Next quarter, at a final exam paper on third world countries, which he graced with an A+, he wrote: "This a beautifully written, deeply felt paper. It's a model graduate paper". 30 years later, I still keep that paper as well as fond, affectionate memories of an exceptional man. May he rest in peace.

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