Jan Stafford Hogendorn

October 27, 1937October 10, 2017

Jan Hogendorn, 79

Vassalboro - Jan Stafford Hogendorn, 79, died October 10 of natural causes. He was a longtime resident of East Vassalboro, Maine.

He was born October 27, 1937 in Lahaina, Hawaii to Paul Earl Hogendorn and Helen Isabel Stafford Hogendorn. Evacuated from Hawaii by flying boat after Pearl Harbor, he grew up in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He was a champion debater at Oskaloosa High School, and he won the 1956 Voice of Democracy contest and addressed that year's Democratic National Convention.

He came east to Wesleyan University, and in 1958 he was in the inaugural group of students to visit Africa as part of Operation Crossroads Africa. Inspired by the promise of economic growth in Africa, he decided to major in economics.

In 1958 he met Dianne Yvonne Hodet, and they married in 1960. They immediately set sail for England on the RMS Queen Elizabeth, and Jan studied at the London School of Economics on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returning to the U.S., Jan taught briefly at Boston University and at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. The couple again traveled to England, and Jan studied at LSE for his Ph.D. on the subject of British colonial agricultural policy in northern Nigeria. In 1965 the couple drove their Volkswagen Microbus across the Sahara Desert to reach the site of Jan's dissertation fieldwork.

Jan became assistant professor of economics at Colby College in 1966, and soon afterward he and Dianne settled into the old Samuel Cates farmstead in East Vassalboro. He rose through the ranks at Colby, served as chair of the economics department, and was appointed the Grossman Professor of Economics in 1977. He visited Nigeria and Britain several more times, including a visit to Oxford University on a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1986.

During his career he published more than 50 articles and essays, multiple editions of textbooks in introductory, international, and development economics, and three books on the history of agriculture, slavery, and abolition in West Africa.

In later life, Jan participated in local politics, serving as chair of the Vassalboro Democratic Party and several times as moderator of the Vassalboro Town Meeting.

He is survived by his wife Dianne, his son Christiaan who is also a professor of economics, daughter-in-law Erika Naginski, and two grandchildren. No services are planned. Please visit to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.


  • Per Jan's request there are no services

Jan Stafford Hogendorn

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jenn Withnell Hawthorne

March 19, 2018

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Professor Hogendorn. I was his last student - he helped me with my senior project at Colby and I so enjoyed my time with him. I only wish I had been better about keeping in touch. I will always remember him fondly. Sending love and thoughts to his family.
Jenn Withnell Hawthorne
Colby Class of 2004

Jennifer Brown

November 4, 2017

Dear Dianne, I am so very sad at this. I was just going to write to Jan about Wilson's passing in May. I'd love to be in touch. Matthew and I send big hugs and deepest sympathy. Jennifer

Randy Helm

October 17, 2017

A Colby legend and a good man. He will be missed!

Peggy Menchen

October 17, 2017

A favorite memory is of Jan running up to the Miller Library reference desk one weekend to inquire about the demise of the print card catalog that had just been replaced by the online catalog. He needed something to say to an alumni gathering. I jokingly suggested handing out the old cc cards to the audience. He did one better, he took a handful of the cards and sailed them out over his audience. Jan reported back that it was a big hit. After his retirement, I often enjoyed Jan's phone calls regarding questions about citations or WSJ access. I knew Jan as a very kind person and one who possessed a wonderful irreverent humor.

October 17, 2017

I'm so sorry to hear he is gone. I will always remember his enthusiasm and of course the hard cider! Thank you for being an important part of my life.

Julie de Sherbinin

October 17, 2017

Nat Shed and I both recall Jan fondly. He was a kind senior colleague to me at Colby. Nat, as director of Friends Camp on China Lake, deeply appreciated the generosity of the Hogendorn family in offering access to memorable overnight canoe-camping trips for generations of campers and counselors This was a tremendous gesture of neighborly thoughtfulness and generosity--perhaps facilitated by the connection to the Cates family, long time Quakers at the Vassalboro Quaker Meeting across from the Hogendorn homestead. Thank you, Jan! You will be missed by many in the community.

Julie/Nat de Sherbinin/Shed

October 16, 2017

Jan was a wonderful senior colleague for me at Colby. He also shared kindly and generously with Friends Camp on China Lake, where Nat was director from 2004-2016. Generations of campers & counselors recall canoe & overnight camping trips to the "Island"--probably unaware that Jan and family had granted the right to island use in the spirit of thoughtful & engaged neighborliness. Thank you, Hogendorns. Jan will be missed.

Kim Gordon

October 16, 2017

Richard Sewell and I are sorry to hear of Jan's passing. I enjoyed getting to know him during my time working in the Econ office - and once or twice helping handle details for the annual Grossman lecture.

Catherine Besteman

October 16, 2017

I am so sorry to learn of Jan's passing. We had many wonderful times at your house, pressing apples, eating great feasts, riding the farm equipment around the property, boating with the kids to your Island. One of my favorite memories is of our daughter Gabriela showing Jan her photo album from Antarctica and his earnest and genuine enthusiasm to learn all about her adventure. Jan was a lovely, warm, remarkable man, and we were lucky to know him and learn from him. Sending our love to your family.

Susannah MacNeil

October 15, 2017

I am so sorry for your loss. Jan was such a vibrant man - so full of life and ideas! I remember him very fondly.