2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Two Noted Alumni Die

Two noted alumni--one a major researcher on organizational change and the other a former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg--have died recently.

Ruth Farkas, who served as Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1973 to 1976, died Friday, October 18. She was 89.

A recipient of the TC Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982, Farkas earned her Master of Arts degree in sociology at TC in 1932.

Her late husband, George, was the founder of Alexander's department stores. Farkas was involved in many philanthropic activities through the Role Foundation, which she established in 1967.

Matthew B. Miles, one of the nation's leading researchers on organizational change and school reform and a former TC faculty member, died Friday, October 25. He was 69 years old.

Miles, who studied innovation in education, was himself an innovator whose seminal work on group dynamics, organizational development, school reform, qualitative data analysis and what he called "social architecture" helped define educational research in the U.S. and Europe for more than 40 years.

Miles earned his master's degree at TC in 1951 and his Doctor of Education degree in social psychology in 1954. He served on the TC faculty from the mid-1950s until 1970. He was also a research associate with the Horace Mann-Lincoln Institute of School Experimentation at TC.

After he left the TC faculty, he became a senior research associate for the Center for Policy Research in New York.

Miles was the author or coauthor of several major texts, including Learning to Work in Groups, Improving the Urban High School, and Computer Programs for Qualitative Data Analysis.

According to Ann Lieberman, one of Dr. Miles' close friends on the TC faculty, "Matt literally helped invent the field of educational change and taught a generation of educators to observe, document and make positive change happen. He is one of the few people who lived what he learned."

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