On Nov. 5, trustee emeritus and emeritus professor of economics Norton Dodge passed away from multiple organ failure at the age of 84. Dodge received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1948 and, in 1960, his doctorate of philosophy (Ph.D.) in economics from Harvard University, where he researched economics and industrial development in the Soviet Union.
According to an all-student email sent out by President Urgo, Dodge visited the Soviet Union on research trips, where he became interested in vocal opposition among artists. While there, he accumulated much of their works thereby preserving dissident art from the USSR that might have been otherwise lost or destroyed. Dodge smuggled nearly 10,000 works of art from the USSR to the United States during the Cold War.
In 1977, Dodge decided to hold an art show in Washington, where he displayed the works he’d smuggled. After that, he knew his name and face would be recognized in the Soviet Union, since embassy officials attended the show, and he chose not to return.
Now, the art resides in the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art From the Soviet Union, which is part of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Though many art critics dismissed the work as being useless, Dodge was always careful to warn not to judge art by western standards. In 1977, Dodge told The Washington Post, “You may think this art is good – or bad. I think it should be seen.”
His books include “Women in the Soviet Economy” (1966), and he became a leading Sovietologist who did pioneering work on the role of women under the rule of Josef Stalin. He also edited “From Gulag to Glasnost: Nonconformist Art in the Soviet Union” (1995), with Alla Rosenfield.
Dodge taught economics at the University of Maryland, College Park for over 20 years, during which he was appointed to the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees by Governor Spiro Agnew. He served as a trustee until 1980, when he moved to St. Mary’s and became a professor of economics. In his years here, Dodge established five Dodge Awards, which recognize talented faculty, and donated the physics laboratory and two student townhouses to the College.
Dodge is survived by one sister, Alice Dodge Wallace, and his wife of 32 years, Nancy Ruyle Dodge.