Fred Greenstein, professor of politics, emeritus, died Dec. 3, 2018
Professor Greenstein was one of the most influential figures in my entire Princeton undergraduate experience. As an eager (but naive) freshman, I approached him asking for permission to take his upper level class on theories of the presidency. He not only let me take the class, but he encouraged me throughout its progression (even though my much more experienced peers shone more brightly than I did during the course). When I was trying to develop a senior thesis topic in the Politics Department years later, he guided me in refining the topic, and he also connected me to someone who served as a key interview for my research (and from that interview many others followed). He took a personal interest in me and wanted me to succeed at Princeton, and I will always be grateful for his kindness and support.
Fred was very kind to me when I arrived in Princeton as a new assistant professor in 1994. I didn’t even have my PhD finished, and I had never taught my own class. Fred helped me feel welcome and was generous with his time and advice. He was approachable and friendly. He really made a difference in my initial years here, and I will remember him fondly.
Dr. Bruce Chadwick
New Jersey City University
I met Dr. Greenstein when I took a class with him at Princeton as part of my Rutgers doctoral program. I was 50 at the time. He took me under his wing, called me “the kid,” and was most gracious. My wife and I, and other students in our class, had dinner with him at his home on the night of the ’92 New Hampshire primary and listening to him analyze the contest was just fascinating. He continually met with me and told me everything I wanted to know about politics and the Presidency because I was writing a book on Lincoln at the time. I found him to be a brilliant man, but also a very down-to-earth man whom you could talk to about anything. He it up my life and I’ll always remember his kindnesses to me, and everybody, and his political genius, that came through in all of his many classes. He will be missed at the White House and in my house, too.
Fred Greenstein was my thesis advisor and I worked with him on the Truman-Eisenhower project during my senior year. He was extremely helpful to me, always had an open-door policy, and took a genuine interest in my work. Years later he wrote one of my graduate school recommendations. I will always remember him very fondly.
I was fortunate to have Fred Greenstein as my “junior paper” adviser first, and my senior thesis adviser second. This meant we worked together for about two years! No single professor had a more lasting or meaningful impact on my educational life and later career. Despite the fact that I was an undergrad, working on nothing all that special or groundbreaking, he worked with me as intensively as he clearly did with postdocs, renowned scholars, and peers.
He made me feel like a colleague, not a kid. He was an educator first, and he actively nurtured the potential in all of us.
How many times over the last three years have I wanted to pick up the phone and ask him what he *really* thought about current events…
We’ll miss him. He was one-of-a-kind. Thanks, FIG.
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