Pat Gercik (1944-2019), the visionary manager of the MIT Japan Program and of MISTI in its early years, passed away after a long illness at her home in Cambridge.
Gercik, who was raised in post-war Japan (her family having immigrated to the country in 1918), joined the MIT-Japan Program in 1987 and was with MISTI and MIT-Japan for 26 years. She is author of "On Track," a Japanese case-study book about building trust across cultures; and “The Outsider," set in the chaos of post-war Japan, a vivid exploration of the political turmoil between the Japanese right and left and the impact of the American occupation through the eyes of a child.
Gercik’s reach extended far beyond MIT. She was a national leader in coordinating efforts on campuses form Massachusetts to California to stimulate more and better understanding about Japan and international studies. She also served as the interface between MISTI and the US government, from the National Science Foundation to the Pentagon.
A core group of Gercik's former students and friends who were touched by her magic has raised the initial seed funding required to establish and name a fund in her honor. We hope you will join this effort and help realize our dream to raise $100,000 to endow the fund in perpetuity. Gifts to the Patricia Gercik Memorial Fund will provide supplemental stipends to students participating in the MIT-Japan program, within the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).