U-M Associate Provost Susan S. Lipschutz died Sunday (April 13)

April 14, 1997
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Susan S. Lipschutz, associate provost at the University of Michigan since 1993, died Sunday (April 13) at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital here. She was 53.

“Susan Lipschutz was one of the finest academic administrators I have ever known, and a gentle and wise friend to everyone who knew her,” said U-M President Lee C. Bollinger.

Lipschutz, who received a Ph.D. from the U-M in 1969, began her academic career at the University of Denver, where she taught in the philosophy department and in interdisciplinary humanities programs. She also earned an M.A. degree from the U-M and B.A. from Smith College.

In 1974-80 she taught at Albion College, serving as assistant dean. She received an American Council on Education Fellowship in Academic Administration for 1980-81.

Lipschutz returned to the U-M as assistant to then-President Harold T. Shapiro. In 1986 she was named associate dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and was promoted to senior associate dean in 1989. She was named assistant vice provost for academic affairs in 1993. She also was adjunct associate professor of philosophy and taught an honors course in the Department of Philosophy each year. Her specialty was political and social philosophy and 19th-century German philosophy.

J. Bernard Machen, U-M provost, said, “Susan Lipschutz provided the University a rich background in academic administration and a firm commitment to academic values. She was known and respected throughout the University community, as evidenced by the unanimous support she received from deans and others during her recent review for reappointment. She cannot be replaced.”

Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr., who was U-M provost in 1990-95, said that Lipschutz’s death “is a significant loss to the University community, especially because of the grace, style and warmth she brought to the role. She was indispensable in the Provost’s Office, a trusted friend. I’m deeply saddened. It is a great loss.”

John D’Arms, former Graduate School dean and now president of the American Council of Learned Societies, said, “I recruited Susan from the President’s Office to become my major collaborator as associate dean of Rackham. A wonderful colleague with an extraordinary range of talents, she was a major contributor in ensuring that the Graduate School had a distinctly human face. All who worked with her knew instantly that they were in the presence of a wise, compassionate and complete human being. I am simply devastated by the loss of her life-enhancing presence among us.”

Connie Cook, director of the U-M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, said that Lipschutz was “a role model for women at the U-M. She mentored scores of women administrators, faculty and graduate students, and generously served as an informal clearinghouse for job seekers, pairing them with job openings. We counted on her to go to bat for women’s issues behind the scenes. Everyone respected her intelligence, her graciousness and her diplomacy. During her lengthy bout with declining health, she inspired us all with her courage. We will miss her greatly.”

Lipschutz published articles on political philosophy, the values of the research university and graduate education. She served as a national representative for graduate education on the Graduate and Professional Financial Aid Council for the Educational Testing Service. She was twice a reader for the Jacob K. Javits Competition for the Department of Education, and a member of its national review panel. She also was a member of the board of the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities.

Lipschutz also played key roles in the creation of the University Wallenberg Lecture at the U-M in 1985 and served as chair of the selection committee for a number of years. The lecture honors Raoul Wallenberg, a U-M graduate who saved the lives of thousands of Jews in Hungary while serving as a Swedish diplomat in Budapest in World War II.

As associate provost, Lipschutz conducted a study of the training of graduate student instructors that resulted in greatly strengthened, departmentally based programs. She examined the experiences of first-year students and brought forward numerous recommendations for improving them. In addition, she assisted U- M deans with faculty recruiting and developed programs in support of faculty teaching, leadership skills and career development. Four U-M units—the Office of the Registrar, the Bentley and Clements libraries and the Center for the Education of Women— reported to her.

While at the Graduate School, she created programs aimed at building a sense of community among faculty and graduate students, and enhancing the climate for undergraduate education, including the annual convocation for new graduate students, the Graduate Newsletter, the Predoctoral Community of Scholars, the Graduate Student Forum and the Graduate Caf