Drew University Mourns the Passing of Longtime Professor Hans Morsink

Morsink taught at Drew for 43 years and was a beloved member of the Drew community

October 2023 – Drew University mourns the loss of Johannes (Hans) Morsink, emeritus professor of political science.

Dr. Morsink began his 43-year career at Drew in 1972 teaching in the Department of Philosophy. He taught in the department for 20 years before moving to the Department of Political Science in 1992 where he taught for the next 23 years.

He retired from Drew in 2015 and was honored with professor emeritus status later that year.

“He was a popular teacher and had a tremendous impact on students and colleagues both within and outside the department,” said the Drew University’s College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office in a message to the Drew community announcing Morsink’s passing.

Dr. Morsink’s 1999 book The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins Drafting and Intent (University of Pennsylvania Press) was acclaimed as, “the definitive work on the drafting of the twentieth century’s most important human rights document.”

He published two more books as a member of Drew’s faculty, Inherent Human Rights: Philosophical Roots of the Universal Declaration (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Challenge of Religion (University of Missouri Press, 2015).

Morsink continued to publish works after his retirement from Drew. His fourth and final book, published in 2021, was Article by Article: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights for a New Generation (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Colorful anecdotes from faculty colleagues peppered the resolution granting Morsink professor emeritus status in April 2015.

“WHEREAS when Hans taught the First Year Seminars he was a stickler for students showing up on time and was known to purchase loud alarm clocks for them and even go into the dorms and bang on the doors of students who overslept and rouse them from bed,” read one entry.

“WHEREAS Hans is likely the only professor in the history of Drew University to appear on the cover of The Acorn [student newspaper] wearing only a speedo bathing suit,” read another.

Dr. Morsink was lauded as an “excellent teacher” who “brought wit and humor” to classrooms and faculty meetings, and was honored for having “excelled in teaching, scholarship, and service since arriving at the University.”

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