Remembering Jordan E. Kurland

By Michael Ferguson

Jordan E. Kurland, a tireless champion of academic freedom who spent more than fifty years on the AAUP’s staff, died on January 23 in Washington, DC. Kurland had an encyclopedic knowledge of AAUP policy and history, and he carried out his responsibilities with dedication, skill, and passion. He leaves behind his devoted wife of almost sixty-nine years, Anita Siegel Kurland, four children, and eight grandchildren.

A native of Boston, Kurland attended Dartmouth College and earned BA and MA degrees in history at Boston University before commencing advanced study at the Russian Institute at Columbia University. He earned a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in the Netherlands for his dissertation on Dutch-Russian relations in the seventeenth century; a second fellowship enabled a year of study in the Soviet Union. Kurland began his teaching career in the history department of the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina. He joined the AAUP’s staff in 1965 and served in what is now the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance until his death, playing a role in more than 90 percent of the case investigations conducted in the Association’s history. Last year, the AAUP’s 101st Annual Meeting passed a resolution honoring Kurland for his fifty years of service as a member of the Association’s professional staff and “for his unrivalled contribution during the preceding half century to the Association’s historic mission of advancing the ‘standards, ideals, and welfare of the profession.’”

A tribute written by Matthew W. Finkin, Kurland’s former colleague, appears on the following pages. A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 4, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Potomac Room of the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, DC.

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