Teachers College has lost three important figures from its past in recent months.
Published in Inside - Volume XII, No.5
Paul Vahanian, alumnus and Professor of Psychology, died in October. The son of a cobbler who had emigrated from Armenia to escape the genocide there, Vahanian was a much-decorated World War II veteran who earned an M.A. in Marital and Family Relations from Teachers College in 1952 and a Doctorate in Education in 1957. He is remembered as an innovative educator who taught the first TC course in family therapy and group dynamics. Repeatedly rated as a favorite by TC students, he was a humanist who promoted spirited discussions among his students and brought the cognitive therapist Albert Ellis and other leading-edge thinkers to visit his classroom. As a marital therapist he was influenced by an eclectic mix of thinkers, from Freud and Jung to Rogers, Ernest "Lank" Osborne and Fritz Perls.
Professor Emeritus Craig Timberlake, a professional actor, singer and author who appeared in over 100 plays, operas and musicals, passed away in late December. Timberlake, who toured as Professor Higgins in "My Fair Lady" and with a group led by Katherine Hepburn in "As You Like It," chaired TC's Department of Music and Music Education. He worked extensively with ABC TV's public affairs division, chaired the American Academy of Teachers of Singing and served as President of the New York Singing Teachers Association.
Barbara Auchincloss Thacher, alumna and former Trustee of the College, died in late January. Thacher, who earned her master's degree in 1965, wrote for Newsweek, the New York Times, the Herald Tribune and Harper's. She was the first female Chair of the Board of Trustees at Bryn Mawr College, which she attended as an undergraduate. She served as Vice Chair of the New York City Board of Education during the administration of Mayor John Lindsay. In 1992, TC awarded Thacher its Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Contribution to Education.