College Pays Tribute To Saul Levin |
College Supports Poetry & The Children
to Rabbi Lance Sussman
Art Exhibit |
In Memoriam:Professor Emeritus
A Memory |
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College Pays Tribute To
Saul Levin, Distinguished Professor of Ancient Languages,
Saul Levin is unforgettable. He is now back at home after
undergoing therapy at Hilltop Retirement Community in Johnson
City, New York, following a mild stroke earlier this year.
He is recovering steadily and remains his usual enthusiastic,
brilliant, and spirited self.
As a child, Levin taught himself both French and Latin out
of other people's textbooks. At his mother's insistence, he
took French in high school. Although he was already proficient
in the language, he wasn't bored in class. "I kept observing
what difficulties other students had, and how the teachers
would address them," he recalls. That experience probably
laid the foundation for his lifelong career in teaching languages.
Levin's fascination with languages followed him to the University
of Chicago, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He
majored in Greek and minored in Linguistics, earning a Bachelor
of Arts in 1942. Levin continued his education at the University
of Chicago and spent three years at Harvard studying Classics
as Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. In 1949 he earned
a Ph.D. in Greek with an emphasis on Latin also.
As an undergraduate, Levin originally intended to major in
Romance Languages. He chose Greek over Latin as an elective
after looking at a friend's Greek textbook. His instructor,
David Grene, taught The Iliad and the Odyssey, and the Socratic
Dialogues of Plato in their original Greek. "He had a way
of pushing. There was an initial enrollment of 25 [in Greek],
but Grene had decided that he would cover the essentials of
Greek grammar in less than a quarter of the time. He didn't
care how many dropped! It was the few remaining in the class
that he cared about. By the end of the semester, we were on
the Death of Socrates. Early the next year, he took me aside
and urged me to make Greek my major. He assured me I could
teach it at a university."
After earning his Ph.D., Levin taught for 1 1/2 years at
his alma mater. Next was an assistant professorship at Washington
University in St. Louis, MO. Shortly thereafter, Levin received
a Faculty Fellowship from the Fund for the Advancement of
Education through the Ford Foundation. He returned to Chicago
for a year and began the research to which he would dedicate
the rest of his life: the inflections in Hebrew and other
Semitic languages, and in Indo-European languages in Europe
Levin's former University of Chicago instructor, S. Stewart
Gordon, recruited him to Harpur College in 1961. Levin was
a perfect fit. "I liked it very much! The students, the faculty,
the support of the administration, the growth of the library,
the encouragement for everyone to make the broadest contributions."
His recollections of Harpur reflect the college as it is today,
a place where scholarship is strongly encouraged.
"Being at Harpur College brought out the best in me." Levin
fondly remembers giving Humanities lectures in the Fine Arts
building. He never attempted to publish them, but the thought
still occurs to him.
Not surprisingly, Professor Levin's publications are too
numerous to list. A selective bibliography, "Linguistic Publications
of Saul Levin," compiled by J.P. Brown, appears in the 1997
edition of General
Linguistics. He considers among his most significant
works a Hebrew Grammar book that he wrote for his own students
at Washington University, The Linear B Decipherment Controversy
Re-examined (1964) and the Indo-European and Semitic languages:
An Exploration of Structural Similarities Related to Accent,
Chiefly in Greek, Sanskrit, and Hebrew (1971).
General Linguistics dedicated its 1997 edition to
Levin. It includes articles by Levin himself, his daughter
a professor at Ohio State University, and Harpur College Distinguished
Professor Emeritus Wilhelm Nicolaisen, and Professor Daniel
Levin enjoyed following his students' progress as he taught.
He often thinks about the late Harpur College alumnus, Jordan
Greenwald '82. Levin said, "He was the very best of all; he
had it in him to go further than I'd done." After Greenwald's
death in 1990, a memorial lounge was created in the library
tower to hold his vast book collection. Greenwald's family
also established the Jordan M. Greenwald Memorial Scholarship,
which assists a junior or senior student of the classics and
rotates between a Greek and Latin major in the department.
His academic life is well balanced by a large family. Levin
and his wife Ruth recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.
They have six children and six grandchildren.
Levin retired in 2000, concluding half a century in academia.
Looking back on his career at Harpur College, Levin said,
"I have so many sweet memories." His longtime colleague and
friend, Aldo Bernardo, Distinguished Service Professor of
Italian and Comparative Literature, Emeritus, summarized,
"Professor Levin is the most dedicated scholar our campus
has ever had. He was instrumental in developing not only a
solid Classics Program, but in expanding the scope of the
Department to include Arabic and Hebrew. His grasp of universal
knowledge was such that he was able to work with various colleagues
in a variety of areas. His help contributed immeasurably to
my completion of all of Petrarch's Latin letters of his old
age. He was also instrumental in developing our Center for
Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, as well as our original
and award-winning Humanities Program, which put Harpur College
on the map by the mid-seventies. His contributions have been
Professor Levin would enjoy hearing from
his former students. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
College Sponsors "Poetry and the Children"
College encouraged many young writers to cultivate their
talent when over 430 students from 31 schools and 11
school districts gathered on Wednesday, May 23rd
in the Anderson Center Concert Theater for the 24th
annual Poetry and the Children Day.
Poetry and the Children Day, which brings students
together for a day of poetry readings, was established
as a memorial to Robert Pawlikowski. A published poet,
creative writing instructor and campus administrative
assistant, Pawlikowski drowned in 1975 while on vacation
with his family. The event is a tribute to the efforts
Pawlikowski made during his lifetime in nurturing the
expressive and intellectual powers of his students as
well as those of his own children.
This year's guest poet was Brenda Cave, who regularly
shares her work on various stages including coffeehouses,
bookstores, at luncheons and speaking engagements. Her
recent works include the play Lined in Gold,
a wide mix of poetry, short stories and drama reflecting
life, love, and flavors of African-American culture.
event was partially underwritten by Susan Clark-Johnson
'67, who began her career as a reporter for the Gannett
Company's Binghamton Evening Press, the predecessor
of today's Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin.
A quick rise placed her into what was at the time a
small and select group of women newspaper publishers,
when in 1977, she became publisher of the Gannett-owned
Niagara Gazette. In 1983, she returned to Binghamton
as publisher of the Press & Sun-Bulletin,
presiding over the successful merging of the morning
Sun-Bulletin and the Evening Press and
setting the standard for similar Gannett mergers throughout
the country. Ms. Clark-Johnson is currently president
and publisher of the Reno Gazette-Journal and
senior group president of Gannett's Pacific Newspaper
Group with responsibility for 11 newspapers in Nevada,
California, Arizona, Texas, Hawaii and Guam.
Clark-Johnson can strongly relate to childrens
love for writing. "I feel strongly children should
have be encouraged and afforded opportunities to be
express themselves creatively," she said. "I've
been very lucky in my life and career. In some part
I trace that back to my third grade teacher who took
our class outside for art class. She asked us each to
draw what we saw. I had a blank piece of paper. I just
couldn't do it. I asked her if I could write something
instead. She said "yes." I wrote a poem - and that was
After the opening presentation, students proceeded
to the Lecture Hall complex to present their poems.
Participants received a copy of an anthology created
from their original works. The anthology is prepared
by the Office of the Dean of Harpur College and is also
distributed to teachers and local libraries.
College Says Farewell to Rabbi Lance J. Sussman
Rabbi Lance Sussman likes the
quote, "When one teaches, two learn." That is how he summarizes
his 15-year career at Harpur College, where he has taught a variety
of history and religion courses. He has recently accepted a senior
rabbinic position in Philadelphia and
will move at the end of June. A popular professor and well-respected
clergyman, he will be missed on campus and throughout the community.
Where are you from and where are
I am from Baltimore, MD; my parents are still there. I was an
undergraduate at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA
and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. My Master's, my rabbinic
ordination, and my Ph.D. are all from the Hebrew Union College -
Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. My doctorate was a combined
program with the University of Cincinnati. I came here from there
and I've been here 15 years. We are moving to the Philadelphia area.
I am going to be the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth
Israel, which is known in that area simply as "KI." Founded
in the 1840s, it is one of the oldest and largest synagogues in
the United States.
Are you giving up teaching?
I am not giving up teaching; I am taking a short break in order
to readjust, move my family, learn our way around Philadelphia,
become familiar with my new congregation, and then I will go back
to teaching again. Philadelphia is rich in schools, universities,
and numerous Jewish institutions, so there are all types of possibilities
- I think there are six seminaries in the town where we're moving
alone including a rabbinic school.
What have you enjoyed about teaching?
What I enjoyed most about teaching was learning. In order to
teach you have to learn. I created all types of courses, I taught
approximately 14 different courses while I was here. When developing
a course, you learn quicker and deeper than just learning passively
as a student, so the teacher becomes a student, and I learned a
great deal. I actually made my own curriculum broader as things
developed around here. I took the effort to globalize the curriculum
and to teach comparatively very seriously!
I also think I learned how to teach, although I had some university
experience before coming here. I was an instructor of modern Hebrew
at the University of Cincinnati, and I was teaching community-based
courses: docent training, museums, things like that. I was "presenting"
at that point, and now I think I'm teaching in that I'm driven more
by how the students learn than presenting the material. I try to
teach the person and the material as opposed to teaching the topic
Tell me about your family.
I've been married since August 6, 1977 and we have 5 kids. Three
of them are moving with us. One son is a student at Broome Community
College and one is at SUNY Oneonta. My wife, Liz, is a music teacher.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I have never experienced spare time. I don't know what it is.
I am a Rabbi, a teacher, a father of five, and I have multiple interests.
Spare time doesn't exist for me. I need an eighth day!
Could you share a special memory of your years
at Harpur College?
I've had wonderful colleagues. First, they've mentored me. I
came here "green." Mentoring yielded friendships, and there's learning
that goes on there too. Its amazing how much you can learn
with a scholar-friend over a cup of coffee.
I've had some good moments with students, too. My very first day
on the job, a student came to me and said, "I don't see how you
are going to do it." "Do what?" I asked. "Live in New York and teach
at Binghamton!" "I live here," I answered her. "You do," she answered,
"I didn't know that Jews lived beyond the Catskills!" "Beyond the
Catskills" was instantly adopted as the name of the book I wrote
on the local Jewish community, which came out a few years later.
I also remember in an American Jewish History class early in my
career here, a young lady handed in a term paper titled "A Jewish
soldier in Vietnam: my father." That was a real marker for me in
terms of time. I was a high school student during the Vietnam era,
there were lingering protests when I started college and it was
unfathomable that [someday] I'd have a student whose father was
a soldier in Southeast Asia.
Another interesting moment to me was in my Religions of the World
class. I had in one section many Korean students. I was talking
with some of them, and I asked, "Why are you taking my class, what's
your motivation?" and they said, "We're here to study Buddhism."
I replied, "That's interesting to me, I assumed that most of you
are Presbyterians." They said, "That's true, but our grandparents
were Buddhists and we want to know about it." That was an eye opener
for me. There's a 3rd generation phenomenon called Hanson's Law,
and tersely stated it's maintains that the 3rd generation wants
to remember what the 2nd generation wants to forget. It's a phenomenon
and dynamic of immigration and it was playing out right in front
In the field of religious studies, theres a saying: "If you
know one religion, you don't know any." When I read that for the
first time, it resonated very deeply in me. I hope I've helped students
gain fresh perspectives and learn how to think about human spirituality
in new and helpful ways. I hope I put a pleasant face on the classroom
experience and strengthened a desire for mutual understanding among
students from many different religious backgrounds during these
last fifteen years.
I am going to miss Binghamton University. I thank the school and
my department for giving me the chance to work and to grow here
as a person and as a scholar.
on campus, springtime means final exams, a slight improvement in
Binghamtons weather, and the Art departments annual
student exhibit. Everyone enjoyed the vibrant display of talent
throughout the Fine Arts building. Take a moment to enjoy a splash
of beauty. When these pictures are hanging in museums, youll
be able to say you saw them here first.
Memoriam: Professor George Wellwarth
E. Wellwarth, professor emeritus of Theater, died on June
Born in Vienna, Austria on June 6, 1932, Wellwarth earned
a B.A. from New York University in 1953, an M.A. from Columbia
University in 1954, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago
in 1957. He began his academic career at Harpur College in
1970, following a teaching position at Penn State University.
Wellwarth was a prolific author, known widely among theater
enthusiasts as the co-founder and co-editor of Modern International
Drama. His writing included Spanish Underground Drama
(1972) and Modern Drama and the Death of God (1986).
He also edited numerous books about theater, including Modern
Spanish Theater: An Anthology of Plays (1969) and German
Drama Between the Wars: An Anthology of Plays (1974).
Wellwarth retired from Harpur College in 1996. "George
was a very good friend and colleague and he will be missed,"
said John Vestal, chair of the Theater department, "He
taught Intro to Theater and the class was always full. He
was always an entertaining lecturer."
A Memory On-Line
sure to visit the
Harpur College Memory Book - and leave your mark. Share
a favorite memory of your Harpur experience, whether as a student
or as a faculty or staff member. Or, maybe you just want to
wish Harpur a Happy Anniversary. Memories will be listed and
updated on a regular basis. Put those thinking caps on and tell
us about your favorite Harpur moment.
a new way for you to buy Harpur merchandise.
Shop the campus bookstore from the comfort of your PC or Mac. Want
to pick up a copy of the new Harpur history book The Cornerstone?
University Harpur College Shopping Online
out the Harpur mugs, the cool notecards and bumper stickers.
For hats, shirts and other apparel, see http://www.bkstore.com/binghamton/merch.html
For other Campus News, visit:
March 29, 2001
November 30 , 2000