Robert L. Payton, a pioneer in developing research on philanthropy and establishing it as an academic field, died May 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he had been living near his family.
Payton, who was 84, was the first full-time professor of philanthropic studies in the U.S. and the first full-time executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
A professor emeritus of philanthropic studies and senior research fellow at the Center on Philanthropy, he inspired the creation of the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library and the Philanthropy Archives at the University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“Bob Payton was a brilliant, humble giant in the philanthropic sector whose impact on philanthropy is immeasurable and will be indelible, Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy, says in a statement.
“His legacy includes helping create the field of philanthropic studies, the hundreds of university courses and programs in philanthropy and nonprofit studies that now exist, and the enormous and burgeoning body of research about philanthropy and how to practice it effectively,” Rooney says.
Payton also worked as a journalist and served as a paratrooper in World War II, president of Hofstra University and C.W. Post College, and U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Cameroon.