News from ISA


Farewell to our friend, Dana Larsen

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that former ISA Director of Operations, Dana Larsen, passed away on May 30, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona after a courageous 12-year battle with Lymphoma. We are honored that Dana chose to share more than 20 years of his humor, passion and generosity with us and find that the world is a little brighter for him having joined us in it. We say goodbye to our friend and share our deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

Published Obituary (also included below)


Larsen, Dana Bomann 

68 years of age, passed away on May 30, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona after a courageous 12-year battle with Lymphoma. He was born on September 2, 1949 at the Oak Park Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois to Lois Elaine (Tarbox) Larsen and Donald Viggo Larsen and lived a life that the Dude would abide. Dana's innate dedication to societal wellbeing and political integrity began shortly after graduating from Alhambra High School in 1967. Dana became a Vista Volunteer in East Orange, New Jersey and had vital involvement in the early version of the Head Start program. Upon completion of his service, he returned to Arizona, working the culinary arts and attending the University of Arizona earning his B.A. in History in 1982, Summa Cum Laude. He then continued his education at the University of Arizona earning his M.A. in History in 1985. Dana became intrinsically involved with Common Cause and served as the Executive Director of Common Cause of Arizona from 1987 to 1995. Dana was tenacious in this position, ensuring political fairness and advocating for issues faced by the State of Arizona. His tenure and service was recognized by both sides of the aisles and was honored by the Democratic and Republican parties. In 1995, Dana was called to serve in another equally challenging endeavor as the Director of Operations for the International Studies Association (ISA) at the University of Arizona. ISA started as a small organization and grew to a membership of over 7,000 with members from over 100 countries. In 2015 Dana retired and began other adventures, notably volunteering for the Food Bank of Southern Arizona and besting his times in the El Tour de Tucson. Dana's many passions took him outside the political and academic arenas. He was an avid cyclist riding to work at the University of Arizona most every day, training on "The Loop" with the occasional pit stop at coffee shops. Dana's passion for service and cycling combined thru riding and supporting the El Tour de Tucson for 14 years, even while fighting his own battle with lymphoma. He loved desert gardening and transformed his yard into a varietal display of desert flora, despite the occasional mishap involving chainsaws and ladders. Dana was also enthusiastic about the arts, spanning all genres of music and film, and was an avid supporter of various Tucson institutions. Dana is survived by his brother, David M. Larsen; sister-in-law, Frances J. Larsen; nieces and nephews, Major Stephanie (Larsen) Maxwell, Sarah (Larsen) Eggers, Captain David M. Larsen II, Ryan Larsen, Captain Sean Penczak, his many grand nieces and nephews, and countless friends whom he considered part of his extended family. Dana and his family request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, 3003 S. Country Club Rd., Tucson, AZ 85713, or by phone at (520) 883-3300.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star (July 29, 2018), written by David Larsen.

Posted in: Headquarters


Martin O. Heisler
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 7:02 PM
Like an untold number of others, I claim that Dana was my friend. He was more than a professional associate through ISA because, although that is how we met and got to know each other, working with Dana was relating with Dana as a caring person, not only a superbly competent administrator. During Dana's tenure at ISA I was busy -- founding sections (his routine greeting on the phone each time I called in his last decade at in the office at UA was "what is this [new] section about?"), having complications regarding schedules and meetings, he came through with grace and humor. Although Tom Volgy was a superb executive director, for me, as well as for many others, Dana was the go-to person. But I will miss him not as a terrific resource at ISA but as a person and friend. (Martin Heisler)
Houman A. Sadri
Thursday, October 18, 2018 8:24 AM
Dana was my friend and mentor for more than 25 years, since I was a simple graduate student at the University of Arizona. He was a great man, soul, and friend. He was always kind; and the most reliable as well as organized academic colleague that I have had. We had very similar life philosophy, passion for learning by traveling, and helping the community. I will certainly miss him, but I am sure that he is in a much better place where sooner and later most of his friends will join him. (Houman Sadri)

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