It is with deep sadness that we honour the life of Dick Robinson, who headed Scholastic for nearly 5 decades, shaping the company into the world’s largest and most prominent publisher and distributor of children’s books, education and media.
Having begun his career as a high school English teacher in Evanston, Illinois, Dick joined the company founded by his father (Richard Robinson Snr) in the 1960s and was named President of Scholastic in 1974 and CEO in 1975. He was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board in 1982 and under his visionary and pioneering leadership, Scholastic spanned all corners of the globe, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the UK, tirelessly supporting reading, education, freedom of thought and children’s books.
An advocate for the life-changing benefits of literacy, Dick was every child’s greatest ally and every teacher’s biggest supporter. Engaging and connecting with children to turn them into passionate readers and learners to improve their opportunities in life, are the cornerstones of the company that Dick built. But most of all every conversation came from a place of kindness and support, filled with wisdom and warmth.
Over the course of his lifetime, Dick received many honours for his outstanding career, including the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the Literary Community from the National Book Foundation, Publishers Weekly’s Publishing Innovator of the Year in 2011, the Partners for Children Award and the Corporate Leadership Award from Save the Children, R.R. Bowker’s 1998 Literary Market Place Publisher of the Year, and the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education from Teachers College.
In a statement, The Scholastic Board of Directors said: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson. Dick was a true visionary in the world of children’s books and an unrelenting advocate for children’s literacy and education with a remarkable passion his entire life. The Company’s directors and employees, as well as the many educators, parents and students whose lives he touched, mourn his loss.”
Hedwige Pasquet and Christine Baker at Editions Gallimard Jeunesse commented: “With Dick, every conversation, every exchange of email, was always meaningful. The attention, intervention at the right time, and kindness have been constant. Comments given so lightly, with the hallmark deep voice, humour and sparkle in the eye, that often it was only on reflection that one could fully appreciate how decisively clear-sighted they were, how complete. His elegant modesty and discretion, and the fact that it was all Children and Children’s Books – might obscure what a giant he has been, towering at the top of contemporary publishing. But everyone who knew him, knew him for the great and good man he was. ”
Dick leaves an amazing legacy that will continue to live on through his Scholastic family; that of making the world a better place though books and reading.