| Editor’s Note: David Strand composed and read this eulogy at the service honoring
Bruce Andrews on Jan. 13 in the Social Hall of the Holland Union Building.
Teaching, scholarship and politics were great and intertwined passions in Bruce Andrews’s
life. As a scholar, Bruce was part of the post-war behavioral revolution in political science.
Skeptical of the received wisdom about how politics and government worked, Bruce used the tools
of scientific data collection and analysis to answer basic and important questions like why
citizens in a democracy vote for a particular candidate and party and how a person’s
social identity—based on class, ethnicity, religion and gender for example—affects
his or her choice.
Bruce resolved to impart these new techniques and methods, and the larger and older fields
of knowledge they spring from, to young people. When he applied in 1960 for a job as an instructor
of political science at Dickinson he wrote that he did not see the role of teacher as one who
played the “shepherd” protecting his “sheep” “from straying along
paths presumed to be dangerous” but as one who taught students to think for themselves
and equipped them with the tools they needed to meet the challenges that life offers.
His colleagues at Dickinson know, and his students over the years confirmed, that Bruce fully
realized his vision of teaching and learning as pragmatic, humane and liberating. He taught
a wide range of courses on topics like political behavior, public opinion and propaganda, and
the introduction to American politics. He pioneered the teaching of the media’s role
in politics at Dickinson, a new and important topic that post-dated his own graduate education.
His was a supple and ever-enquiring mind. No doubt influenced by his wife Margery’s interests
and accomplishments as a licensed psychologist, Bruce’s syllabi were likely to include
psychoanalytical studies of political culture alongside more mainstream texts. Bruce taught
his students in the classroom. He also sent them out into the neighborhoods of Carlisle to
do polling and interviewing. At least one team of student pollsters ended up by falling in
love, getting married and raising two children. That, too, I think Bruce would have agreed,
is part of the liberal arts experience.
Bruce was a superb teacher. Students praised his deep knowledge of American politics, up-to-the-moment
examples torn from the headlines or back pages of newspapers, humor, enthusiasm, receptivity
to different points of view and approachability. Bruce seemed always to have a long line of
students outside his Denny Hall office seeking advice and support. One of his students called
him the “nicest and [most] concerned professor on campus. [He] not only knew his subject
matter but genuinely cared whether or not he was clear, and students understood …” Students
treasured his guidance, intellectual challenges and kindnesses long after they graduated. One
recalled how Bruce “always seemed to listen to each student’s opinion (albeit sometimes
with an expression of disbelief).” One alumna noted with admirable concision that as
a professor, Bruce was “thoroughly decent” and “definitely cute.”
Bruce’s students learned from his example that one can be open about one’s political
beliefs, fair to the other side and capable of sound scholarly judgment all at the same time.
During the height of the Vietnam War, when passions on the left ran high, Bruce went against
the grain of student and campus opinion by offering a seminar on “The Politics of the
Far Right.” A student of his at the time remembers thinking (and saying): “He must
be insane! Here we were in the middle of … Vietnam … and this … this voice
of reason, this pillar of liberalism wants me to delve into this crazy insane extremism. How
could he make me do this!? He recalled Bruce saying: “Why don’t you take the course.
You might learn something. You want to do that don’t you?” The student
recalled with gratitude, “I did. I learned. I grew. I still have the books.” Another
of Bruce’s students of the same generation attended the uproarious Chicago Democratic
convention in 1968 and was tear gassed by police outside the hall. The student was aware that
inside the convention hall his professor, Bruce Andrews, was serving as an alternate delegate
for Eugene McCarthy. No shepherd. No sheep. Instead, we see the striking juxtaposition of teacher
and student, each making an informed choice as citizen through one of the wilder courses of
Bruce also taught his colleagues a thing or two about professional responsibility and democracy
in academics. Bruce was elected to nearly every committee of the college because the faculty
trusted him and knew him to be fair and wise in handling matters of importance for the entire
Dickinson community. He fought for the faculty, for academic freedom and for the educational
values of the liberal arts. It is easy still to imagine Bruce in Memorial Hall at a faculty
meeting rising to his feet to ask a tough question, make a telling comment or, just as importantly
when working among and with one’s fellow professors, calling the question.
I was lucky to be Bruce’s friend. One of the last times I saw Bruce was on Election
Day as he helped lead the get-out-the-vote effort in Carlisle. He relieved me as poll watcher
at about 5 p.m. He was a little late. I was a little over-excited.
“Bruce,” I said, “It’s looking good!” (I should note that I
am a specialist in Chinese politics, not American politics.) Bruce took that in carefully and
replied, “Well, it’s a little too early to tell.” And, Bruce of course was
right. He always kept his passions and his mind in good balance.
There were many occasions—often lunches—when we talked freely about world politics,
national politics, local politics, even college politics. Sometimes I would rant. Bruce would
listen attentively and, I realize now thanks to the insight of his former student, “sometimes
with an expression of disbelief,” and gently or humorously steer the conversation toward
some more interesting and productive terrain but never away from controversy—which he
loved. I realize how much I looked forward to those lunches and how happy I was afterwards,
no matter how grim or hopeless the topics we broached might have seemed. Others have shared
this experience, whether the activity was a conversation or tennis, a Phillies’ game
or a political meeting. Bruce’s sweet disposition—remarkable in a man with such
strong views and cutting insights—could lift us up in seemingly effortless fashion. This
was a great blessing.
Bruce embodied in his life the advice of an ancient philosopher (Philo of Alexandria) who
said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
Bruce appreciated life’s battles—especially a good political fight or academic
argument. We will miss him as friend and comrade in and out of the fray. And, Bruce was kind
to those he met, as a member, not only of the Dickinson faculty, the Carlisle community and
the Democratic Party, but also as a member of some mysterious convention or company of the
goodhearted. As one friend summed up Bruce’s character, he was a “gentleman and
a gentle man.” His lightness of spirit and strength of fellowship—and certainly
his smile too—will be sorely missed, and not forgotten.
David Strand, professor of political science, is chair of the East Asian studies department.