Dear Commons Community,
The students, faculty, and staff of the CUNY Graduate Center and the Program in Urban Education lost one of our pillars with the death of Jean Anyon. Jean had been fighting cancer for about a year and succumbed to it yesterday. Up until the third week in August, she had hoped to teach her courses this fall.
Jean had been on the Urban Education faculty since its beginnings and in every sense was critical to its development and success. Her thoughts, positions, and ideas added mightily to the vibrancy of our program. Her scholarship on political economy as a lens to examine public policy regarding urban neighborhoods and schools is respected throughout the professional education community. Her books, Radical Possibilities and Ghetto Schooling, are standard reading in every education program in the country.
She was incredibly loyal to and supportive of our students. She guided and helped them in any way she could. She taught them to be activists and led them on Occupy Wall Street marches. To do a dissertation under Jean’s tutelage was an experience that established a foundation for a scholar’s career and life’s work.
Jean was a friend from whom I sought advice and counsel. In addition to our regular conversations throughout the academic year, I especially enjoyed having dinner with her at the end of each semester. I used these occasions to help me reflect on the ups and downs of our program. Our discussions always turned to our students, both those who were succeeding as well as those needing more assistance. I inevitably found myself using her insights to guide me during the coming semester.
We will all miss her dearly.
Our sincerest condolences go out to Jean’s family especially her daughter, Jessie.