Jerry H. Bentley, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, was a generous humanist, pioneering world historian, and inspiring mentor to scholars locally and around the globe.
Born the oldest of three sons in 1949 in Birmingham, Alabama, Bentley was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His education and career were entirely in public schools: he graduated from Brainerd High School in 1967, earned a B.A. in History in 1971 at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, finished his Masters (1974) and Ph.D. (1976) at the University of Minnesota, and came to the University of Hawaiʻi in 1976 where he remained until his retirement in 2012. Although his early research focused on Renaissance humanist scholarship of the Bible, in Hawaiʻi he emerged as one of the international leaders in world history scholarship and teaching, publishing a wide range of articles and books, including a popular textbook, Traditions and Encounters. A founding member of the World History Association and editor of the Journal of World History for 22 years, he developed standards and curriculum locally and nationally, established a flourishing Ph.D. program at UH, and fostered a world history program at Capital Normal University in Beijing.
In Hawaiʻi, Bentley is remembered by his colleagues as an inspiring teacher and wise mentor of undergraduates, graduate students, junior faculty, and teachers in the community.
Jerry H. Bentley passed away July 15, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Carol Mon Lee, stepson Michael Lee Shinn, parents William Carey and Billie Bentley, and brothers Murry Bentley (Linda Clark) and Larry Bentley (Caroline Bentley). In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Jerry H. Bentley Endowed Scholarship at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa through the UH Foundation.
To make a gift, please send checks made payable to “UH FOUNDATION” to UH Foundation, PO Box 11270, Honolulu, HI 96828-0270 (ATTN: Lori Admiral) and reference “Jerry H. Bentley endowed fund” in the memo section. To give online, please go to www.uhfoundation.org/JerryBentleyFund