The George Rabinowitz Endowment
The Department of Political Science has created the George Rabinowitz Endowment in memory of our esteemed and distinguished faculty member and colleague who died suddenly in March 2011 while on a research fellowship in Trondheim, Norway. For more than 40 years George taught and conducted research at UNC-Chapel Hill and was recognized as an especially devoted teacher and a gifted mentor, receiving rave student reviews even for his large sections of Poli 100. He was especially gifted at coaxing the best out of undergraduate honors students and the hundreds of graduate students he mentored.
George—together with his wife and longtime collaborator, Professor Stuart Macdonald—were widely recognized for what came to be known as the Directional Theory of Issue Voting, a seminal contribution for which they received the Heinz Eulau Prize from the American Political Science Association. “For all its technical sophistication, Directional Theory is fundamentally a claim about human motivation,” writes a former graduate student. “It is an incisive statement about what makes people tick. George knew how politics worked.” George was also the co-founder of the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association.
“I would knock on the door with a knot in my stomach,” recalled a former advisee. “‘Sit down,’ he’d say while shifting and lifting stacks of papers to find a pencil. After a minute he’d settle for a stubby golf pencil with a dull point, fish out his copy of my paper and say, ‘OK, this needs a lot of work.’ I knew that meant he liked the paper; he had different words if he didn’t like a paper. Then came the revisions. George’s mind moved quickly, and grasping his recommendations was often like playing one-on-one with an NBA point guard. Before you could get a chance to defend, he was past you. It was hard work to keep up, but by the time George was satisfied with your paper it represented the best work you could possibly do.”
Donations to the George Rabinowitz Endowment Fund will be used to support students conducting research on voting and elections, reflecting George’s interests.
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