ERIC F. WOOD, a distinguished hydrologist in the civil and environmental engineering department, died Nov. 3. He was 74. Wood joined the Princeton faculty in 1976 and four years later became director of the University’s Water Resources Program. In a biography prepared in 2019, the year he became emeritus, colleagues described Wood’s extensive research collaborations, including work with NASA to employ satellite remote sensing in gathering hydrology data. The American Geophysical Union honored Wood’s contributions to his field with the Robert E. Horton Medal in 2017.
RONALD E. SURTZ, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese whose research and writing explored pre-modern and early modern religious texts, died Nov. 14 at age 75. Surtz, who taught at Princeton from 1973 to 2016, was a master of languages and could “liberally impart aphorisms in Spanish, Italian, and French,” according to a department biography — a skill that added levity to faculty meetings and advising sessions. In 2016, Surtz’s students and colleagues published a book of essays in his honor, focusing on topics from medieval and Golden Age Spain.
ALLEN H. KASSOF, a sociology professor who supervised Princeton’s Critical Languages Program, which brought the first female undergraduates to campus in the 1960s, died Nov. 22 at age 90. Kassof told PAW in 2019 that the program, which offered instruction in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and other languages, produced several successful scholars and specialists. According to a family obituary, he joked that his role also made him Princeton’s “first dean of women.” After leaving the University, Kassof was founding director of an organization that arranged scholar-exchange programs between the U.S. and the Soviet-bloc countries.