About Our Founder

Frank Gibney (1924-2006)

Frank B. Gibney, the late founder and president of Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, spent most of his life attempting to bridge the gap between Americans and the countries and cultures of East Asia. 

Gibney first visited Asia as a lieutenant in U.S. Naval Intelligence stationed in Japan during World War II and returned to Japan in 1949 as Time-Life's bureau chief, rising to prominence covering the Korean War. He remained in Asia where he did extensive reporting in Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. 

Gibney later served as an editor of Time, a senior features editor of Newsweek and an editorial writer for Life magazine. After joining the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1966, he spent 10 years in charge of Britannica's business and editorial operations in East Asia. Fluent in Japanese, he founded and edited the Japanese-language Britannica (completed in 1975) and later editions of the encyclopedia in Chinese and Korean. In 1976, the Japanese government awarded Gibney the Order of the Rising Sun, Third Class, for his work in cultural affairs. The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class, followed a few years later.

A prolific writer, Gibney was the author of 11 books and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. His major work, The Pacific Century (1992), written by his son and Academy Award-winning documentary director Alex Gibney, was the capstone of the award-winning PBS television series of that name, on which he served as chief editor. The program aired in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, as well as the U.S.

Gibney co-founded the Pacific Basin Institute in 1979 to further understanding, on both sides of the Pacific, of the tremendous importance of their relationship and their shared responsibilities. In 1997, the Institute moved to Pomona College, where its unique Asia/Pacific film archive and public events continue to play an important role in the life and academic activities of the college and community. 

Read Frank Gibney's New York Times obituary>>