C. W. “Sandy” Huntington Jr. was born February 24, 1949, and grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, walking distance from Michigan State University, where he later attended college. He earned his PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan under the guidance of Luis Gómez, training in Sanskrit with Madhav Deshpande and then, while living in India (1976–79), with Ambika Datta Upadhyaya and Ram Shankar Tripathi. Sandy would return to India, especially Banaras, many times during his life; for him it was a second home.
Sandy first taught at Antioch College’s Buddhist Studies in India program, then at the University of Michigan and Denison College, before joining the faculty at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. There he inspired undergraduates for more than two decades, receiving numerous awards for teaching.
As a scholar, Sandy urged his colleagues in Buddhist philosophy to reflect on their hermeneutical assumptions. His provocative critiques were marked by unusual creativity; he not only deconstructed old ways of reading but also offered new ones. This is evident in his seminal work on Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara, which was published as The Emptiness of Emptiness (Hawaii UP, 1989). Sandy was also a gifted writer for non-academic audiences, making philosophical ideas accessible and rendering them with literary flair, as with his acclaimed novel, Maya (Wisdom Publications, 2015).
Sandy passed away peacefully on July 19, 2020, following a six-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by Liz, his beloved wife of thirty-five years, and their two children, Sam and Katie.