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Herbert Ames Cahoon, Jr., social worker, community activist, mentor of students at Dwight Hall at Yale and long-time Director of Yale Volunteer Services, died August 18, 2008 at his home in Woodbridge, CT at 91 years of age.

He is survived by his wife, Jean, daughter Catherine Burnett of Canada and daughter Sarah Cahoon-Poindexter of California, and grandson Wade Poindexter, a student at the University of Arizona.

A memorial service for Herb Cahoon will be held on Friday, September 26 at 4:00pm in Dwight Chapel, 67 High Street, New Haven, CT.  For more information, please contact Dwight Hall at 203.432.2420.  His family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent in Herb's memory to the Herb Cahoon Campus and Community Fund at Dwight Hall.

Herb was born January 18, 1917 in Swampscott, Massachusetts.  He earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1939 and a M.S. from the School of Social Work at Columbia University in 1948.  He declared himself to be a conscientious objector and served as a non-combatant medic during World War II.

Herb was appointed as Director of Volunteer Services at Yale University by President A. Whitney Griswold in 1960. Cahoon drew from his extensive background in social work to advise student volunteers and nearly tripled the number of Yale students engaged in community services activities from 300 in 1960, to more than 1,000 at the time of his retirement in 1982.

The Volunteer Services staff was later merged into Dwight Hall at Yale, The Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale, and Herb continued his association with students at Dwight Hall for another 25 years following his retirement.

He worked closely with undergraduate leaders at Dwight Hall, and with staff from the Yale Chaplains Office, during a period of substantial change at Yale University.  During his tenure, Dwight Hall became a more secular organization (originally founded as the Young Mens Christian Association of Yale in 1881) due to the increasing religious diversity at Yale. The introduction of women at Yale in 1969 also played in important role in community outreach. 

Under the guidance of Cahoon, students helped establish non-profit organizations such as Marrakech, Inc. and the New Haven Halfway House. Cahoon and Dwight Hall Executive Director David Warren created the Dwight Hall Summer Internship Program to offer summer employment for students starting in 1969 who designed collaborative projects in conjunction with community leaders to address critical needs in New Haven, CT. 

Herb Cahoon's other professional experiences included work as a senior social worker at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Sing Sing Prison; member of the Bureau of Public Assistance in Los Angeles, CA; staff member of the New York City Youth Board and St. Christophers School in Dobbs Ferry, NY, an institution for the care of emotionally disturbed children; and the assistant superintendant of the New Haven Receiving Home of the Connecticut Department of Welfare. 

Cahoon also influenced generations of activists by organizing Freedom Rides with Yale Chaplain Rev. William Sloane Coffin during the Civil Rights Movement, counseling draft resistors during the Vietnam War, and facilitating Dwight Halls role as a neutral broker in defusing campus and community outrage over the New Haven Black Panther trials in 1970.

Cahoon's legacy is acutely felt today, as Dwight Hall has grown to involve nearly 3,500 students in 70 student-run community service and social action organizations that collaborate with nearly 300 community-based organizations and grassroots campaigns.  His guiding principals for student service organizations that students should design programs that address identified needs in the community, collaborate with existing organizations and established community leaders to implement programs, and carefully consider the sustainability of programs given the short tenure of student leaders are still utilized by Dwight Hall as necessary components for program development.