Lewis A. Tyler, a force for the advancement of Latin America and the Caribbean through international education, died May 30 in Boston.
Tyler contributed to a wide range of hemispheric initiatives during a career marked by his enthusiasm for helping others – friends and strangers alike – to achieve their highest potential. His interest in Latin America stemmed from his childhood fascination with travel and his early exposure to the Spanish language.
Early in his career, Tyler coordinated the Chilean Education Reform Project at Indiana University, selecting training programs in the United States for Chilean participants. In 1973, he came to Harvard University as regional director and, later, executive director of LASPAU: Academic and Professional Programs for the Americas, a Harvard-affiliated nonprofit organization that designs and implements international exchange programs. During his tenure, Tyler oversaw a fivefold increase in the size and scope of the organization.
In 1997, Tyler became deputy director of the Programs in Professional Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Through his work at Harvard, he was instrumental in transforming higher education in Latin America, including such milestones as assisting the Ministry of Education of El Salvador to put in place a university accreditation process and developing seminars that benefited hundreds of Latin American higher education leaders.
His most recent position was as a senior member of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) working in Salvador, Brazil. As AIR’s on-site manager, Tyler served as an adviser to the Secretariat of Education of the State of Bahia and was responsible for coordinating staff development activities to promote sound certification and student assessment practices.
Tyler served on the Task Force for the Committee on Research and Electronic Communications at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard and the Task Force for Higher Education of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The late Cassandra Pyle, a close friend of Tyler and herself a leader in international education, once wrote, “Perhaps what makes your involvement in this exchange arena so special is that you bring human qualities of deep commitment, high integrity, great sensitivity to your colleagues, and a wonderful sense of humor and humane caring, that you truly sweep people along with you.”
Tyler is survived by his sister, Toni Tyler Sargent; two nieces, Caren Elizabeth Sargent and Kathryn Lorrain Sargent; and his longtime partner, Robert O’Connell.
A memorial service will be held at noon on Sunday (June 16), in the Memorial Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Lewis A. Tyler Fund (c/o LASPAU, 25 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138-6095) or to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA 02445-7226, Attn: Kaelyn South). Please state that the contribution is being made in memory of Lewis Tyler, so that it can be appropriately directed.