Professor Herbert W. Hildebrandt came to the University of Michigan in 1958, directly from receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to that he attended Wartburg College in Waverly Iowa where he obtained a BA degree in 1952, then entered the armed services for 18 months during the Korean War, then obtained an MS degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1955 prior to his Ph.D. awarded in 1958.
His initial appointment was in the Communication Studies Department of LS&A, remaining there for six years. President Harlan Hatcher asked him to be his assistant in 1965 and also on behalf of the Regents asked him to be a VP and the Secretary of the University. In the latter capacity he was the liaison between the Regents and the Administration. President Robben Fleming asked him to continue in those two positions when he became President in 1967. Dr. Hildebrandt remained in those dual positions until 1970.
Dean Floyd Bond of the Business School asked him to join their faculty in 1970 and begin a business communication program focusing on intercultural, international communication issues. He did so and remained there until his retirement in 1998.
As a faculty member of two Schools, he eventually cut his ties with LS&A and became a full-time member of the Business School, now called the Ross School of Business. There his research focus turned to Asian countries, living there two-three months yearly as a lecturer, researcher, and consultant. That he has done for 30 years, especially focusing on Chinese and U.S intercultural communication research. With a Chinese Ph.D. student and other scholars he has written three books in Chinese and several monographs. He also wrote two classroom texts, one in Chinese-English, for the Asian classroom for improving their oral and written intercultural communication.
Professor Hildebrandt did not neglect his service to the University, his professional associations, and to his community. He was elected to the highest University professorial position, Chairman of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) that represents the entire University faculty; elected to the head of the Department of Law, History, and Communication in the Ross School of Business; elected to the presidency of the Association for Business Communication; and elected to the head of several community groups.
He currently (2008) continues his Asian research with a by-yearly publication along with giving Asian intercultural communication lectures. Additionally, he spends time with his three grandchildren and his wife Delores (Dee) of 54 years.