Honoring a Champion of the History of Education

| December 26, 2012

“Larry Cremin was a magical teacher,” says Trustee Sue Ann Weinberg (Ed.D. ’97). “He was so widely read, and he had such a broad understanding of education.”

To honor the former TC President and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, who was also her dissertation adviser, Sue Ann has given a substantial gift that honors Lawrence Cremin’s vision and memory by laying the foundation for a center for the History of Education.

“What this wonderful gift will allow us to do is to approach the history of education as a form of civic education, because educational histories are a gateway for understanding the formation of citizens and the development of democracy over time,” says Provost Thomas James.

As TC celebrates its 125th anniversary, such a center will help the College reclaim its standing as the custodian of the history of American education. It will encompass funding for senior faculty, doctoral research and future programming in the History of Education, broadly conceived as Cremin intended it. And it will strengthen TC’s relationship with Columbia through collaboration with Columbia’s Department of History.

“I had such a great experience at TC that opened up so many intellectual interests and pursuits for me,” says Sue Ann, who started out just taking courses, but ended up pursuing a doctorate because of Cremin’s encouragement. “Larry was trying to teach us to think critically — to see that each historian was writing from his own perspective,” she says.

With Cremin as her adviser, Sue Ann wrote her dissertation about Lewis Mumford, the philosopher and architecture critic who wrote for The New Yorker. “I think it’s important to have history written by many different people from many different points of view,” she says.

With this gift, Sue Ann is ensuring that Cremin’s history and legacy is not forgotten at TC or anywhere else. “Larry was a real renaissance man,” she says. “He was constantly reading. He was interested in everything his students were doing. And he gave of himself without holding back.”

Originally Published in TC Today – Volume 37, No. 1 and TC Online Media Center