Dave in WA

Dave and I got to be very good friends while he was at Murdoch University in Western Australia. He was also my teacher, and a really good one (I based much of my own teaching on what I learned from him).I also met his lovely daughter, Dawn, of whom he was incredibly proud.
Dave was a wonderful and rare mixture of physical energy, artistic ability and intellectual power. We spent many hours together drinking, arguing, laughing, and for me, learning. He had his demons, but that sustained and honest effort to be a good man in the face of life’s tricks was one of the things I respected most about Dave. He was determined to live life to the full, and he did. A good man has left us, but his life was a good one and he has left us plenty.


It was a wonderful tribute to Dave. I did not get up to speak, leaving that to his students, closer friends and colleagues. I find myself wanting to share now though. I came to Evergreen as a transfer student in 1973 and was in the first 4 year graduating class. I never took a class from Dave but I bought the dream. The dream of a new way of teaching and learning in a community where everyone was equal. Properties of Evergreen which Dave purposely instilled.

After graduation I got a part time staff job and busied myself by becoming involved in various DTF’s where I felt that my opinion mattered as much as a Dean at the same table.
Before that, I, and some other students, worked with the architects for Lab II creating what is now a fine metals studio. Finding a conundrum of not being able to set up the studio due to no faculty or programs in the discipline. My fellow students and I launched a trial balloon and the “Craftsmanship” program was born. Jean Mandeberg was hired and the studio completed and the program was a great success. This is pertinent because it was largely Dave’s philosophy that empowered us and it was totally student driven.

As some who spoke at the tribute mentioned, Dave treated everyone the same and taught me to value my own voice, even though I might have been considered by some as only a student or lowly staff member. Never so to Dave.

I often had lunch with Dave and Sandra Simon (if you knew Sandra you can imagine the stories) and got to know him better there than in any other way, though we often exchanged ideas while joining together for a smoke outside after it was banned inside.

So I bought the dream that Dave and his friends so cleverly crafted and graduated and never left. I spent 28 years at Evergreen and and am glad to count many faculty, provosts, deans, presidents and especially Dave as my friends. His mark on the institution is indelible.

Death and the Educational World…


I loved the service today and miss Dave very much. What an amazing man and what a transformative leader.

An Olympia icon

Dave was the coordinator of Individual, Citizen and the State, the coordinated studies program that first year. My seminar leaders were David Marr, Betty Estes and Kirk Thompson; I never had a seminar with Dave but I well remember his lecture that first day, when our program met in the Methodist Church in downtown Olympia because the campus wasn’t open yet. How young we were! How exciting it all was!

Over the next forty years our paths crossed in bizarre ways. He played a role in the Olander incident, which led to the resignation of the chair of the board of trustees and I was appointed to fill the remainder of her term. Our kids were in Y care together at McLane and we’d be picking them up at the same time. We’d see each other at cross-country meets and practices when our teenagers were running.

We didn’t know each other well and I’m sorry because everybody in town knew that Dave was a fantastic teacher. And, after reading 37 pages of tributes in this guestbook, it’s clear that he was also a good friend.

He Kept Me in School

Dave Hitchens kept me in school. My freshman year was very trying for me. My mother had died of cancer just a few weeks before school started, leaving me orphaned. I had no home but Evergreen, and no real guidance but my mentors, Terry Setter, and Dave Hitchens.
I had first met Dave at a writers camp in Port Townsend,during my mother’s illness. For the very reasons that made him a great teacher, he made me feel that I had the talent to succeed.

At one point, I was on academic probation, because there were days when I just couldn’t go to class. Dave took me aside and really talked to me about how much pain I was in, how well he understood that and how he would be there to help. He guided my path.
I am so sorry to hear of his passing, and hope that he has found a very comfortable chair by a fire, in a room filled with books, and dreams. Love you Dave!