TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

A. Harry Passow: Memorial to Noted Educator Takes Form of Exhibit in Cyberspace

A. Harry Passow, Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Was Long-Time Resident of Englewood, New Jersey

Milbank Memorial Library at Teachers College Creates Tribute Including Photographs, Writings, Bibliography

The memory of a noted Teachers College, Columbia University, professor has been honored with the first cyberspace exhibit from the College's Milbank Memorial Library.

A. Harry Passow, who was the Jacob H. Schiff Professor Emeritus at Teachers College and a long-time resident of Englewood, New Jersey, was a internationally known expert on urban education and the education of the gifted. He died March 28 after suffering a stroke at the age of 75.

The Library's electronic "Tribute" to Professor Passow includes a number of significant documents relating to his career.

Principal components are: an obituary notice to the College community, written by Dean Karen Zumwalt a few hours after Professor Passow's death; an autobiographical essay by the professor; selected manuscripts and publications; photographs; and a bibliography of his scholarly work. The autobiography, titled "It's Been Interesting and Unexpected" was written by Professor Passow shortly before his retirement in 1991. The selected manuscripts include two of the professor's best-known works, the introduction to Planning for Talented Youth: Considerations for Public Schools (1955) and Toward Creating a Model Urban School System: A Study of the Washington, DC, Public Schools (1967).

The photography in the cyberspace exhibit includes material dating back to the 1967 press conference at which the study of the Washington, DC, school system was released. Photographs of the Work Conference on Urban Education organized by Passow in 1971 are also included, as well as photographs from the professor's retirement party in 1991.

Another part of the exhibit includes five selections from the 1967 Israeli Children's Peace Art Collection, an exhibit to which both Israeli and Palestinian children donated works. The electronic exhibit was conceived by Jane P. Franck, director of the Library.

"It seemed only right to honor Professor Passow in this way," Franck said, "while making available a wealth of material on his career to his friends, colleagues and other educators around the globe. Harry was always forward-thinking and was intrigued by the developments in technology, particularly in remote access to resources. I think he would appreciate being in cyberspace."

The exhibit includes a guestbook where individuals can record that they signed on to look at the material.

Professor Passow joined the Teachers College faculty in 1952. Two years later, he began his work in the education of the gifted when he was named director of the College's Talented Youth Project, one of the first studies of gifted children in urban schools.

In 1966, he accepted the invitation of Dr. Carl F. Hansen, then superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools, to undertake an analysis of the system. The final report of that project became commonly known as the Passow Report. In 1972, Passow was named Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Education. Although he officially retired in 1991, he continued to serve the College for the next two years as a special advisor on urban education.

At the time of his retirement, a scholarship was established in the Professor's honor by his friends, colleagues and former students. The A. Harry Passow Scholarship is annually awarded to the doctoral student having the most outstanding certification exam or paper in the College's Department of Curriculum and Teaching.

Teachers College, a graduate school devoted to education across the lifespan and both in and out of the classroom, is an affiliate of Columbia University but retains its legal and financial independence. In a 1996 survey conducted by the editors of U.S. News & World Report, Teachers College was ranked as the number-one graduate school of education in America.

previous page