Remembrances | Teachers College Columbia University

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R. Freeman Butts, education historian and philosopher, died in March at 99. Known to generations at TC as “J,” Butts served on the College’s faculty for 40 years, becoming Professor of Education in 1948 and then the William F. Russell Professor in the Foundations of Education from 1958 to his retirement. Along with George S. Counts, William Heard Kilpatrick and others at TC, Butts proposed an integrative approach to the study of education and its interaction with cultural and social conditions. His books include The College Charts its Course (1939), A History of Education in American Culture (with Lawrence Cremin, 1953), American Education in International Development (1963), and The Education of the West (1973). Butts directed TC’s Teachers for East Africa Project, a pilot for the Peace Corps, and served as Associate Dean for International Studies from 1961 to 1975, also overseeing the College’s first Afghanistan Project.
John H. Fischer, TC’s sixth president, passed away in late December at the age of 99. A former elementary school teacher, guidance counselor and vice principal, he came to national attention in 1954 when, as superintendent of Baltimore city schools, he became the first big-city education chief to implement the Supreme Court’s desegregation ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education. When he learned, at the beginning of the school year, that some white parents would be keeping their children home, he ordered that all absent pupils be marked as truants. In 1955, the Baltimore school system desegregated largely without mishap, and the following year, Fischer received the Hollander Award for Contribution to Racial Relations. During Fischer’s presidency, TC established the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), as well as the Institute of International Studies. Fischer served as member and chair of the National Commission on the Education of the Disadvantaged, and the National Advisory Commission on Education of Disadvantaged Children.
Gary A. Griffin, Professor Emeritus of Education and former director of TC’s National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST), passed away in early March. Griffin’s focus on child-centered education grew out of his nine years as a teacher and elementary school administrator in the Santa Monica, California, Unified School District from 1956–65. In the early 1980s, as Director of Research in Teacher Education at the University of Texas at Austin, Griffin conducted some of the largest-scale research yet done on teacher education. After a stint at Teachers College that began in 1971, he served for five years as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois and another six as Chair of the Department of Teaching and Teaching Education at the University of Arizona, before returning to TC in 1996. Among his many books and monographs, Griffin was editor of Rethinking Standards through Teacher Preparation Partnerships, (SUNY Press, 2002), which documents six exemplary teacher preparation programs participating in university-school partnerships.
Marlin M. Mackenzie, Professor Emeritus of Education in Movement Sciences, passed away in the fall of 2009. An acclaimed sports psychologist, Mackenzie developed the metaskills model of sports counseling for both professional and amateur athletes, which as he described it, evolved from the use of neuro-linguistic programming and Ericksonian communication patterns. Mackenzie was the author of several widely read self-help sports books, including Golf: The Mind Game, Tennis: The Mind Game, Beginning Swimming, and (with Ken Denlinger) Skiing: The Mind Game, as well as Toward a New Curriculum in Physical Education, (McGraw-Hill).
William Summerscales, Professor Emeritus of Education, passed away in February. He was formerly the Director Of Experimental Lay Studies with the Board Of Education of the United Presbyterian Church. He also served as Teachers College’s first Director of Institutional Development. In that capacity, during the 1970s, together with the College’s Alumni Council, Summerscales initiated the Distinguished Alumni Awards Program to broadcast the breadth and variety of careers pursued by TC’s graduates. Summerscales was also the author of Affirmation and Dissent: Columbia’s Response to the Crisis of World War I, published by Teachers College Press in 1970.

Published Wednesday, Jun. 2, 2010