It’s been more than 20 years since Sue Ann Weinberg completed her doctorate at Teachers College, but she remains as passionate as ever about history and education. In recent years she has given the College a generous gift that laid the foundation for its Center on History and Education, and funded two scholarships to benefit multiple students in the Philosophy and Education program, including an endowed scholarship that will fund students for years to come.
“I am so happy I can help people doing such interesting work -- and from all over the world, too!” Weinberg said at a recent gathering at TC, where she met with the scholarship’s 2018-2019 recipients – an event that was also attended David Hansen, TC’s John L & Sue Ann Weinberg Professor in Historical & Philosophical Foundations of Education.
History is in fact a big part of how Weinberg (Ed.D. ’97) ended up earning several TC degrees, joining the Board of Trustees and becoming one of the College’s most generous and enthusiastic supporters. Her original intent was just to take a few courses as a prelude toward figuring out what to do next after her children were grown. As luck would have it, her very first class was taught by the great education historian and former TC President Lawrence Cremin, who soon convinced her to stay on.
“Larry really encouraged me,” says Weinberg, who recalls Cremin as “a magical teacher.” “He’d say ‘Just do one more course! Just do one more!’ which would turn into one more then another...then another. Before I knew it I had a doctorate!”
With Cremin as her advisor, Weinberg wrote her dissertation on the historian, sociologist and man of letters Lewis Mumford, whom she calls a “newspaper man” because he was also an architecture critic for The New Yorker.
“He was a fascinating man,” Weinberg says of Mumford, who died in 1990. “His ideas were very progressive for the time. I actually went up to his home near Poughkeepsie to meet him and ended up becoming good friends with his wife. She and I got along so well and had a great time talking and travelling together long after he passed away.”
Weinbergs passion for history and ideas is clearly shared by the students who are currently benefitting from her scholarship. At her meeting with them at TC, first-year doctoral candidate Kirsten Welch spoke about how her research interests stemmed from a philosophical standpoint. “I’m intrigued by the character of education, the formation of intellectual virtues and how philosophy can, and should, inform educational policy.”
Rashad Moore, another of Weinberg’s scholars who is entering his fourth year as a doctoral student, shared his experiences as an ordained Baptist preacher in Harlem and his passion for exploring the philosophy of historically black education. He also expressed his gratitude for Weinberg’s support. “There is literally no other program in the country like the Philosophy and Education program at TC. It was my dream program. But without the support from my scholarship I would not be here. There is no doubt.”
For Weinberg, those sentiments reaffirm her reasons for staying so closely involved with TC. “I think the education of our young people is the most important thing for the future of our country,” she said a few years ago. “I had such a great experience at TC that opened up so many intellectual interests and pursuits for me. I’m so glad to do the same for others.”
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