Tribute and Celebration of the Life and Work of HAROLD J. NOAH


(gentle music) – And I’m really honored to join this distinguished gathering of educators, scholars,
leaders, all of us friends, all of us sharing a bond
of lasting gratitude for a life that made a
profound difference on ours. It’s always daunting to
try to summarize the career of a truly great scholar. Even more so with a
scholar in one’s own field. For me, this is doubly
true with Harold J. Noah. Not only was Harold a world
renowned education economist, he was also a beloved
leader of Teachers College who served as Dean for several years at the behest of his dear
friend and colleague, President Lawrence Kremen. Now many of you probably don’t know this but I actually overlapped for
a year or two with Harold. I was working at Columbia and I came down to Teachers College to work on a project, a proposal that eventually led to the Institute on Education and the Economy and the Community College Research Center. I see Chuck Harrington here
who worked on that project. And at the time, Harold was, I’m an economist, and he
was the last economist that we had here at that
point on the faculty, and so, we spent many hours talking about education and economics. I was actually up in his office when the Challenger disaster happened. And so I kind of remember
sitting there on a sunny day talking to him. Actually, when he left to go to Buffalo, I sort of took over his students, one of them is here, Robert Caro, and ran the seminar that he had. That was actually the
first time I was paid by Teachers College to do something, running Harold’s seminar. He as such a wonderful person. Since he was really the first
person I got to know well here I started out with a
very, very positive view of the people working at this institution. So I really thank him for that because that was very important to me. So at a broader world level, so there’re few people
who can claim credit with literally reshaping the
direction of an entire field. Yet Harold did precisely that. In 1968, he and his great
friend and coauthor, Max Eckstein, published the landmark book “Towards a Science of
Comparative Education.” Over the next 40 years,
Harold would continue to be at the forefront of
innovation and leadership in interdisciplinary research. He published groundbreaking
works of scholarship in each of the next four decades. He introduced quantitative methodologies, drawn from political science,
economics and sociology. Transforming comparative
and international education into a field that explains
and predicts phenomenon rather than simply describing them. And of course, Harold
played a central role in establishing cross-national comparisons as the rule in education policy studies. In today’s era of
evidence-based policy planning, it is in great part thanks to Harold that we employ indicator research, cross national comparatives, research, and international large-scale assessments such as TIMSS and PISA as
key policy instruments. Harold also commanded major bully pulpits from which to advance his ideas. He was president at the first meeting of the Comparative and
International Education Society in 1956, when the election of officers was conducted by a show of hands. In 1973 to ’74, he served as
president of that organization which today boasts thousands of members. He edited the Comparative
Education Review, and the book series “World
Yearbook of Education.” And at Teacher’s College
where he earned his PhD under George Verde and
taught from 1964 to 1987, he held the Gardner Cowles
Chair of Economics of Education. But as the breadth of our remarkable cast of speakers today attests, Harold’s love of knowledge was boundless. He learned Russian so that he could read
Pushkin in the original. His command of the language facilitated his groundbreaking exploration
of education systems in the Soviet Union. His dissertation entitled
“Financing Soviet Schools” was widely read, both in the
Soviet Union and the West. Harold’s boundless curiosity
and generous spirit also made him an exceptional and widely sought after mentor. The titles of the last three
dissertations he advised give you a sense of his
remarkable intellectual reach. “Transition Processes from School to Work, “A Comparative Analysis in
Three East Asian Cities, “Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong” by Peter Shun Fung. Cameroon private sector, the
operation of the standard and national wage and
salary schedules 1971 to the present by Robert Moofou. Migrants workers and their
dependents in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, trends in legal and educational
provisions by A. Mark LSI. paradigm changing scholar and researcher, institutional leader,
generous mentor and colleague, Harold Noah was as great as he was good and he was very good to all of us. Today, you’ll hear him
Harold Noah’s family, former colleagues and
former students describe his remarkable achievements,
along with the qualities that made him stand out as a human being. Just to demonstrate this
impact, I’d like to ask everyone whom Harold taught, mentored
or directly influenced in any way to rise and
join me in a show gratitude and love for our beloved friend. (audience applauding) – Good morning. I’m Diane Ravitch and I first came to teachers college 50
years ago and I didn’t know that I was at the time
but I became a mentee of Lawrence Kremen and I didn’t
intend to pursue a degree I eventually did, but in
the course of my becoming what I became, I met Harrell,
Noah, before I knew what I was gonna do with my life, I didn’t have a master’s degree and here
I was pursuing a doctorate. And the reason I want to
speak about Harold was about his kindness and his
humor and the fact that he would sit down with me a total nobody and give me time I was not his student I was not his mentee,
I was Lawrence Kremen but Harold was always available. And so, I want to just
talk about him as a person is somebody that I trusted,
whose advice I valued and the one thing when
I was asked to speak, the one thing that came
instantly to mind was that I was working on a project
that involves schools in the Soviet Union, about
which I knew very little, if anything and I went to
see Harold and he said, the one thing you must
remember, and he said this is a general principle,
is that revolutions come and go but institutions are persistent. And he pointed out to me that
the schools, the Soviet Union, had been highly elitist
before the revolution and after the Revolution,
the face is changed but they continue to be
highly elitist and that was an insight that just struck
me like a bolt from the blue for which for his remained
with me these 50 years and which I have thought about many times. So, I’m here just to say,
Harold, he’s not there anymore it was wonderful seeing his face, I’m sure we’ll see more of it. He was just a wonderful human being and I’m so glad that I knew him. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Hello, I’m Robert McClintock. I was a student in philosophy
in the social sciences in 1964, when Harold
started the department I was for a couple years,
to call them or to teach and then came back in 1967 and shared a very intense decade
as a young instructor and faculty member with Harold. The Department of Philosophy
and Social Sciences I think was an extraordinary
academic undertaking at that time. All the major disciplines
of the social sciences and some of the humanities a cast of very strong characters who had divergent points of view, a lot of ambition and an intense commitment
to teachers college to making Teachers College
a new kind of force and Education at that
time and strong opinions and a lot of activity. And Larry Kremen, I think
was the stone of that out of which that department was built and Harold was really this the
cement that held it together that kept all the
divergent forces that Larry could get going, he
would kind of keep them with his sense of calm and civility, focused and working in the same direction. And that’s, I think the experience of the
department at that time was for me, my sense of what the academic life can and should be. And one of the features
of that that I think, Harold was a great exemplar of academic civility. We had a seminar that
would need every two weeks at most of us were a little
bit antsy we wanted to do our work that was it was interrupting, good speakers would come in some of us would like them,
some of us would tune out. Harold always had a well formed question the truth the speaker out that made everybody aware that this
was a common enterprise and I think that kind of of civility to respect those who you differ with and try to bring it to the fullest of achievement was what
he did, par excellence. Thank you, Harold. (audience applauding) – Morning, I’m so happy to be here with so many old friends
and colleagues to celebrate the remarkable life and
achievements of Harold J. Noah. My teacher, my dissertation advisor, my colleague and my friend. It’s no exaggeration for
me to say that, my own life and career would have
taken a very different path had I not met Harold Noah, Professor Noah. It was sometime before
in my first semester at Teachers College. I did have an earlier
connection to teachers college having spent three years
in Uganda and Tanzania with a program teachers for East Africa which features college
administer for the US government. After returning from Tanzania and having been an
undergraduate major in history I enrolled in a doctoral
program at Teachers College in the School of International Affairs, expecting to focus on African history. In my first semester however,
I happen to take a course that looked kind of
interesting in the old paper. Course Catalog of DC was
called Comparative Education was taught that semester by Professor Noah and by C. T. whoo, the
China education scholar and Harold was such great
teacher that I was hooked. As an aside, Joyce Louinjur
Whoo is here today, later became Joyce Lounjur Whoo. Took this course a semester or two later with Harold in with Max Eckstein. I was always a little jealous that I didn’t get the two of them together but had we not both taken that course and loved it, we never would have met. In their book no our next team recommend the use of a discipline
like such as economics, sociology, political science to explain or predict phenomenon. For me then the choice was easy, economics so I could continue to
study with Professor Noah. In addition to the economics of education and comparative education, Harold was an accomplished
scholar in several other areas including the history of economic thought. With us here today is Adam Noah, Harold and Hellen’s oldest son, named Of course for Adam
Smith, who 200 years before Tito Schultz and others
at the University of Chicago and Columbia, was talking about the link between education and economic
growth, human capital. Not long after Adam long came, David Noah, named Of course for David Ricardo and I may have this wrong, but I think that Noah’s had a cat named Mathews. (audience laughing) David, is that right, where’s he? Anyway, after doing my
dissertation research and on education and for
management back in East Africa and spending a little time
at the University of Michigan and my time is up, but
Harold invited me back to DC to teach economics with him
and I did this for 10 years. Sadly, five of those
years Harold was serving as the Dean of the College as well but he continued to teach
one courses semester and to teach conduct with
me the dissertation seminar for economics doctoral students. Economics of education
was part of the Department of Philosophy and social
sciences that Robbie has talked about, what a department that was with Larry Kremen as Chair. Maxine green Phil Phoenix, Donna Shalala, Diane Ravitch, Robbie McClintock, George Farraday, Lambros,
Chuck Harrington, Doug Sloane, many others. And many students who went
on to illustrious careers of their own, including
many will speak here today and among them was Tom Bailey’s
predecessor, Susan Phirman. – I was a former student of Harold Noah both prior to and during
the time he was Dean and what can I say, only good things. As you know, he was able to readily share wonderful ideas and launch new ideas. In addition to his skills
and expertise in economics of education and comparative education he had an exceptional
command of languages. He also had a unique ability to bring out the best in people. He was emulated by many, not just here, but when
I was a teacher’s college and I feel very fortunate
to have taken his classes and to have had him as
my dissertation advisor. I can say that only good
things have come into my life through Harold Noah, he
introduced me to wonderful people some of which became
colleagues and friends. He expanded my thinking and
took my mind to beautiful places that it would not have been to otherwise. I cannot say enough good
things about Howard Noah. He had a rare talent to connect the dots. He had a unique magical
ability to integrate both in terms of bringing people together and in interconnecting
bodies of knowledge across and within fields of study. Over several decades of my
experience as a researcher, mentor and advisor, I have
often thought about things I’ve learned from Harold
Noah, things that he had said but in particular, his dedication to and examples of excellence. One example of that was
when we were in his office and he shared a draft manuscript with me. It was written on legal size yellow paper his writing in a felt tip pen
looked a lot like calligraphy. Is SS look like integral
sign, that were crafted with the gentlest and swift this motion. He shared with me draft number 37. It was a work in progress,
he stated that he liked some of the things he
said better in version 33 and often went back to earlier versions to make corrections in the current one. I feel that Harold Noah spirit has been deep in my professional bones. He gave me a huge gift. (audience applauding) – Harold Noah hired me 40 years ago. The mess that I have made
since then is his fault. (audience laughing) I came here to turn around
a more urban program and personnel psychology
to make it something that it is actually today and my charge was to build who could turn a job down like that. I had been at Clark University where I had turned around
the program, MBA, department and management and doubled
it in size and all that. The president of the
University of Clark at the time a psychologist, what a Maven
to stay on it be the Dean of this department and make it a school. And I told him that I was leaving and go into teachers collage. And he went into a tirade
and called me everything under the name of the sun, and so forth. So I left under those
kinds of circumstances and came and sat down
with Harold in his office to talk about the position here. I was stoned about how civil and a decent and respectful he was. So those are the things that I remember so much and appreciate very much. So we negotiated my coming
here and I came here as a full professor without
tenure and I said to him, hey, I don’t understand
this usually full professor and tenure go together, he
said not a teacher’s college. (laughs) And I said, okay, as long as
I get reviewed within a year or two, he said fine and the
following year I got tenure but and I, by the way, it
happened with a letter from him. I never even knew it was being reviewed or anything like that, those
days are gone forever people. (audience laughing) We don’t do it that way anymore. We have tons of things to
read and discuss and so forth before we promote a person
even to assumption that’s, not to mention for. But the thing that I did not
negotiate very well with Harold was a parking space and he patiently explained to me that he was not responsible
for parking space management and I didn’t understand who
was but there was somebody else who was in that was not
a part of his job and so, I didn’t get a parking
space for two years. So I came as a full professor
without a parking space and what Harold said that was not his job and he would see to it that, somebody asked, maybe looked into it. So I finally got a parking
space at Riverside Church in the basement, so at least God watched over my car for 22 years. Harold was loaded with integrity, never seen a man that had more integrity than he did and respectful and kind and decent human being, so much started Teachers
College was wonderful because of Harold and so I do owe it to
him to still be here. (laughs) And appreciate the opportunity
to say these few words and especially to the family. (audience applauding) – When Gita asked me to give her a few thoughts that morning, she wrote them Harold thought fondly of me, although,
she really didn’t know why. (audience laughing) I have the actual words were a bit. (chuckles) A bit more in general, she
said, I know that Harold was thinking highly of you, I’m not sure from which context you knew Harold but you had a warm spot in his heart. I know the context, I was
a student in philosophy and social sciences from 1972 and 1977. Professor Noah knew me as
just one of Donna Shalala’s politics and education students. They were quite a few of us, I’m sure. But then when Donna left to
enter the Carter Administration, I taught her classes and
I became an instructor under the leadership of Dean
Noah, I didn’t know him well. But I viewed him with great respect he was always straightforward,
honest, a good listener. Remembered what you said
to him from conversation to conversation, gentle,
civil, all the things that people have mentioned this morning all these interpersonal
characteristics that I tried to emulate when I became a leader. The 70s were not an easy
time for female faculty. There were way too few of us for a period of rapid change and liberation. Our ambitious expectations
vastly exceeded our reality at the college in terms
of both numbers and clout of course, the numbers improved over time I think the clout has, but I think the team never tried hard to make us feel empowered in that challenging
environment and I think that when I became president of
TC in 2006, he was pleased to have contributed to my
career and to have fostered my growth, I think that’s why
he had a warm spot on him. So happy he did, he was proud. A feeling I know Well, from
all the faculty I’ve known over my years as a Dean
and president he flourished and moved on to leadership
roles, I’m proud of them. I’m so pleased he was proud
of me and the war spot is mutual, I hope I continue
to make him proud and repay him for all his wonderful
contributions to teach us college. (audience applauding) (gentle music) – Ellen Lagemann, unfortunately got stuck in the snow up in upstate New York. She would have been here and she sent some wonderful memories of him,
I’m gonna read them for you. Ellen, not only was personally
the Spencer Foundation she was the Dean of the
Harvard Graduate School of Education, any other
distinguished position, she was a student of Larry Kremens. Harold was a remarkable
person and as I was thinking about what am I might say
today, what struck me most was the consistency of
character Harold embodied over the 40 plus years I
knew him as a colleague, a neighbor at a distance in
Duchess and Columbia counties and a host when I visited Harold
and Helen in South Africa. Harold was not just a first class scholar he was a true intellectual. Often when I hear Harold
conversing with Max Eckstein his longtime friend and collaborator their progress toward
completing the task at hand would be slowed as Harold
interjected thoughts about the Tolstoy volume,
Nia just rewritten. Harold genuinely loved
ideas and played with ideas. Harold was a storyteller
and he could entertain you for hours sitting under
the pergola in Armenia or in the back of the official
cows, tea or scotch in hand. Harold was loyal to both
friends and institutions. I think he was happiest as a
faculty member but he agreed T to be Dean of TC out of
loyalty to Larry Kremen and his love for the college,
didn’t like being Dean. Displayed a photo of a dog
peeing on a fire hydrant, claiming as Dean, he was
the hydrant and not the dog. (audience laughing) Despite that he can continue to love and serve TC and even after he retired he and Max gave their
book royalties to support the Institute of philosophy
in the social sciences. Harold was both a conservative
and a community activist. In Armenia, he and Helen help
stop the wealthy neighbor from building a landing
site for his helicopter. In fishhook, they created a
garden and an empty lot below their house and in his
retirement community in Florida, Harold and a few of his
friends, peppered the management with complaints about the
food or so, Harold told me his eyes twinkling with delight. Last but not least, Harold
was a devoted husband and a very proud parent,
he took amazing care of Helen during her last
years and he never tired of reporting, Adam and David’s
latest accomplishments, if we’re not to gauge what
gave Harold the most pleasure throughout his life, his
academic accomplishments is careful stewardship of
the financial resources he was always the thrifty economist. His homemade leek soup
is community victories or his family. There is no doubt that he
took his greatest pleasure from watching his children, especially Adam and David
grow up and negotiate the twists and turns of adult life. I admired all these things about Harold but what I truly love was
the sense of irony and humor he brought to any and every encounter. I’ll bet that at the moment,
he’s up there and what his friend Larry Kremen called, “The great faculty club in the sky.” Smiling benignly and
chuckling with amusement as we pour more holes
trying to memorialize him and when we finish, she’ll
probably during contentedly back to Tolstoy, to complete
yet another reading of war and peace, hoping we don’t go on too long or tell too many tall
tales, to do so would be to contradict the clear eyed
realism that Harold admire and embodied throughout his life. (audience applauding) I’m now gonna move up Beatrice Szekely. She completed the dissertation
in Soviet education under Harold Noah, and she
was the co author with him of the journal Soviet education. She’s taught at Cornell and
lives in nificant, New York. Dr. Gita and Peter, thank
you for encouraging me to send along a few memories of Harold. Rather than share precious
memories of my time as his students and later his
colleague and longtime friend these are memories of Harold as a reader. After one of the Tuesday morning colloquia that Lawrence Gremlin
convened while he was Chair of the Department of Philosophy
in the Social Sciences, 50 years ago before becoming
president of the college, Harold invited me into his
office and pulled out a copy of Isaiah Berlin’s SA,
The hedgehog and the fox, you may know the essay about
Tolstoy’s philosophy of history in which Berlin distinguish
between the hedgehogs of the world who focus solely
on one big idea or thing and foxes who know and can relate to many. Harold the consummate fox, gave it to me as a physician prescribes
medication to a patient. In this case to a graduate
student needing to learn to look beyond her own
nose, above all else, Harold value clarity and
straight thinking didn’t he? Wasn’t that why he was so keen
to put comparative education on the path he set for
it with Max Eckstein in towards the science
of comparative education and there are other collaborations. Decades later, during one
of the phone conversations by which we stayed in
touch she told me that he was rereading war in peace, out loud in English for with
Helen into himself in Russian. They were having a great time and he took great
pleasure in mentioning it. Our last conversation
was only a few years ago when he shared his admiration
for Timothy Snyder’s book, “Bloodlines Europe between
Hitler and Stalin.” Astonishing Harrell recorded. How I wish I could still
call him on the phone and hear about what he’s been reading. (audience applauding) – Oren Pizmony-Levy. I wasn’t a student and
unfortunately, I wasn’t a colleague but there was a very serious reader of what Harold Noah
wrote from the 70s, 80s on international political
assessment and I would like to talk about that in a couple of minutes. I met him once, was couple of years ago my colleague hoplite was in the audience and I had a wonderful lunch
with him and it was a DG and I remember that I was
very terrified because I read his work for so long and over lunch between salad and other bites,
I was able to learn more about this person behind this publication and I wish I had more
opportunities to engage him with questions that I
still have for material. We are meeting today to celebrate his life and achievement in a very interesting day. A couple of hours ago, the
OECD released the new results of peace, a piece of 18, with more than 75 countries participating in it, there is a big high in the
media, I encourage you to go and read what they’re saying about the US that didn’t improve at
all over the past decade. But why am I saying that? It’s because people like Harold Noah, well, the key leaders in the movement is the scientific movement
that started in the mid 50s. And really got attention
after the publication of his book with XM, about
making comparative education more empirically, scientific,
systematic analysis of education systems, without
his war and without his push behind the scene and I can
say that I know what he did behind the scene because I will
was able to read his reviews of papers that was submitted
to competitive edge review over the years and he
served as a reviewer. And I was able to see how
nicely he really promote and cultivated this movement
to get into the publication. My reading of him and I
want to quote only one piece that I found from the 70s, it appears that he actually wrote an
editorial in Seattle review of flagship journal, and
back then he was amazed by the mass of data that
are going to collect in 1970 and when we say mass data,
we talk about 19 countries. So from 19 countries to 75, we did a lot but here’s what he said,
what do we hope to do with this mass data that we
will receive during the 70s? Basically, he said, I think
there are three things we hope to do first, and I
think that’s the most important. We expect to test the whole status of commonly held assumptions
about the relationship of scholastic outcomes to certain
structural characteristics of national societies,
and then he goes on and on to develop in a very
curious intellectual way. What’s the purpose of collecting this large scale assessment? And in his notes in this publication other he left us with one big notion,
that comparative education is not only a way to
govern education systems and to sanction them or to scandalize them as Gita was saying, have
it, it’s really a way of learning about the education systems, exploding the valuation not
only trying to convert them into one specific way of doing education. And I think this is the
main lesson that we can take from this work, that I’m taking
from his work 40 years after is that, comparative education
is a very interesting way to know the world is certainly
a way to govern the world. (audience applauding) – Good morning, everyone. I’m so happy to be here, even though it’s a bittersweet occasion for us all. I was Dr. Noah’s mentee and I’ve written him a letter
that I’ll share with you. Dearest Harold, I’ve decided
to write you a letter but it’s hard to call you, Harold. After decades of your being
Dr. Noah, my beloved mentor. It shouldn’t be so hard, my
father’s middle name was Harold. My father in law, Harold
J. McNally was professor of elementary school
administration here at TC and my mother’s name was Helen. But somehow, it seems disrespectful
to use the name Harold, that Spanish was my first
language and I feel as though I’m calling you do, but I’m going to try. I think you’ll remember
Harold that we first met back in the 60s, after I’d gone
home to Kabul, Afghanistan the summer after my
freshman year at Barnard. Yes, I’m proud to say my
father Frederick Harold Vogel was a career Foreign Service officer. I was thrilled to land a
secretarial job that summer of 66 at what was then Kabul University, all the other secretaries were men. Working with a large
cadre of TC professors there to help the Afghans,
first with teacher training and later with establishing
a Faculty of Education at the University and developing curricula and texts for every primary
school in the country. It was then a beautiful welcoming country and I still think of it every day just as I still think of
Harold Noah, every day. Andy Anderson was my boss
and he and our Freeman Butts and the other noted TC profs introduced me to you Dr. Noah, after I’d
selected econ as my major at Barnard and was writing my
senior thesis on the economics of education in Turkey, where
I had lived for five years and graduated from high school. As you can see my ties go back a long way. You were generous from the
start, both academically and personally, encouraging me to apply for a PhD program and
economics and education with the full course
load at both GSA and TC. You help me to secure a US
Office of Education fellowship that covered three years of
tuition, plus a monthly stipend of $200, circa 1400, current dollars. We economists never
speak of anything other than current dollars. You and Helen often invited
my husband Doug and me to your beautiful apartment near campus, where we met your cats,
you’re right Peter. All named after famous economists. I especially remember Ricardo and Melthus. You then invited us to visit your immediate New York homestead
where we got to know Adam and David, young boys at the time. And later you asked us
to house it and Armenia such a treat for graduate students living in a small Bronx apartment, transported on your travel schedule to the quiet and beauty of the mountains. Most important Harold, you
hold my hand both literally and figuratively and helping me rebound from a devastating
encounter with a stranger. Something we will educated
Barnard and Columbia women would refer to as an
eye as well experience. Harold, my professor, my mentor, my friend I wasn’t all, still am of your intellect, your analytical prowess. and we all loved your infectious sense of humor,
which enlivened every class, lecture, office, hour, even hallway chats. I miss you and we’ll write again soon, three minutes is just not enough. With love, your grateful student,
Kathy McNally, thank you. (audience clapping) (gentle music) – When I was teaching at
TC, Harold and I shared an office suite in what was
then called to 14 main hall. It’s up there? A wonderful space happily
claimed by Lambros Comicos when Harold and I had left DC. We also shared a work
study Secretary position, told by a wonderfully talented and devoted music education
student, Connie Dietrich. Connie has written us retinas from Ohio where she and her family
moved from New York. Dear Gita Steiner camps, I appreciate your contacting me concerning the memorial for Professor Noah, what a lovely man. If the distance between
Ohio and New York were less and travel easier for me, I
would have liked to attend the December event honoring his legacy. My husband and I became
students at teachers college after four years of work
as Peace Corps volunteers in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Despite my lack of knowledge
and experience in economics my status as a graduate student
in music enabled me to work as a secretary in the office
and pay for my tuition. Peter MOOC, Chuck Skaro and
especially Professor Noah I never could address him
as Harold became my mentors in education, they became
my friends as well. I value my conversations and
time spent with Professor Noah as much if not more than
any other experience I had more course I took a Columbia, thank you for your kind invitation I’m certainly will all
enjoy sharing memories of this brilliant and delightful man. Richard Noonan is an
American education economist who space for many
years in Stockholm, EIA, recently in the NTN now BDR. He started a TC a year earlier than I did. And he was in fact the course assistant in comparative education when
Joyce and I took the course with Professor Noah, his tribute sounds an awful lot like my own. It was great sadness that I learned with the passing of Professor Harold Noah. I had the privilege and honor of being one of his doctoral students at DC. Toward the end of my undergraduate
studies in mathematics with a bit of economics on the side, I attended a guest lecturer
on comparative education by Professor George verity of DC. It was stimulating as I
had always been interested in learning about other
places and other cultures but how could I, with my
quantitative background, contribute to comparative education with it’s very qualitative orientation? Nevertheless, I was drawn to TC to study comparative education. It was my good fortune
that my first course at TC was on comparative education
with Harold Noah and Max Dean. They were developing a
new quantitative approach to comparative education,
and that I could relate to. From my term paper, I
collected some education and economics data from UNESCO and I did a simple statistical analysis. Later and searching for
a dissertation topic I found that recently
published mathematics study in 1200 faced by the
International Association for the evaluation of
education achievement, IEA. They had collected not
only achievement data but also a wide range of students, home, teacher and school variables. I said to Harold that I’d
like to see if the IEA data could be used for my dissertation? He said oh, yes, I’m consulting with IEA and I know, you can have access. I also know they’re preparing
a new study of six subjects in some 20 countries and
they’re looking for looking to hire a research officer, I
think you would fit the job. And that was the beginning, my
lifelong international career as an education economist, I owe so much to Professor Harold Noah,
his inspiration, dedication and support were fundamental
from my lifelong career. I will always remember
him as a true friend who had an important impact on my life. (audience applauding) – This is a wonderful
occasion and I’m delighted to be here to celebrate my father. Dave, you didn’t know
that I was also a son of your father’s and he
was my intellectual father and my academic father and
he came along in key portions to my life and I wanna
relate a few of those. I graduated from Michigan
in economics in 1969 and immediately joined the Peace Corps came to teachers college to
learn how to teach English as a second language under John Fanselow and it was a wonderful experience for me. When I finished my peace corps experience in 1972, I thought, what
am I gonna do with my life? And I thought, well, I’ll
get a master’s degree in teaching English as a
second language because that’s something I enjoyed
and I was well trained in it at least I thought I was and so I applied and it was accepted. But before I arrived on campus, I was reading through the catalog and came across this
program called economics or education and economics
under Professor Harold Noah and I know this sounds interesting. So I made an appointment
with him and I found this most gracious, delightful
man with a twinkle in his eye with deep insight into the
history of economic thought, which was something of interest to me, but especially in education and I said, Professor Noah could I
be part of your group? Can you make can we arrange this, he said delighted to have you. So this was my first meeting with Dr. Noah and it set off a lifelong
study of more that more or less the practical aspects of education
in his the Professor Noah was talk he mentioned human
capital and that became my study but on a practical side. I’ve spent a life designing
executive compensation plans, strategy, corporate
strategies for compensation and all the time Doctor
Noah’s sense of rigor and interest in doing things the right way have guided my thought. There were several times when I had was stuck in
my career, one of them I decided that I was didn’t want… I was a government employee at the time I didn’t wanna do that anymore. So I took a two year leave
without pay from the government and I better talk fast and I’ll
do my New York fast talking. But I came back to the teachers college and began work on a PhD but I was stuck I would sit for hours at
my desk and I couldn’t get anywhere with it and that’s
how I met with Noah one day I said, I’d like to do
this, I’m working on a paper on civil service compensation in Britain in the United States and he
said to me and I have this this is from my new 1985
journal, Harold Noah, “A good dissertation demonstrates “the mind passing intelligently
over the material.” That has guided me immensely
and I just wanna finish one more thing with his graciousness, even in seemingly small
things as I would bounce back and forth between Teachers College and the various enterprises that I was interested in around the world. So here’s I don’t know what the year is but it’s Teachers College
University Office of the Dean. Dear Bob, good to know you’ll
be with us on 11, 26th. Let’s have lunch together
and talk about your plans. 12:15pm will go to the
faculty club, see you then. Best wishes Harold Noah. And he was a fabulous
man and he is my father and will always be my father,
so thank you very much. (audience applauding) – So I was hardly his student but the impact was enormous. I’d wanna take you back 50 plus years, I think Joyce and Peter
were in the same class but a group of perhaps
five or six of us sat in the third or fourth
row right in the center. So we could look directly
at him because we of course, we’re all from that
other school of thought. We were well grounded in
the very day in school and he was this challenge,
but he was this man with his twinkling eyes, this warm smile this clear intellect,
carefully thought through plan of how to incorporate real data not just go live in the
country, learn the language, observe and speculate but some
facts and put it together. This was my first meeting
with the man I never called anything other than
Professor Noah or Dean Noah. I didn’t have that relationship
but after that class I began to see that there
were more than one way to skin a cat, now I know
all the cats were economists. So we learned from him, even without the intimate relationship,
we learned from him how to think and expand
our way of thinking. For that I shall always be
grateful and I could say that this room was full for that
class and I’m sure every one of those students like myself will say, thank you Harold, what you have given us. (audience applauding) – So, Good morning. I’m Adam Noah. Thank you for welcoming our
family back to teachers college. I have very fond memories of David and I in the Dean’s office 40 years ago, stuffing envelopes with
letters and flyers. I think we were grossly underpaid by the–
– By the Dean. – By the Dean at the time but we now have this memory that is rather priceless. Thank you, President Bailey, the faculty and staff for arranging this celebration of Harold’s life, for coming today, colleagues and friends for coming today and talking about how he
has touched all of us. Those who have spoken and covered his academic achievements
as accomplishments. Who he was as a person, so everyone who spent time with him is Richer for it and knows that they spend time with someone who was very special. I thought, I’d share some
time, some words about his time in retirement. As much the academic that he was, retirement suited him very well. First in Armenia and South Africa this was their annual
migration and then in Florida. He largely spend the
time continuing to read, to learn, refreshing
what he wants to learn, educating other and
taking care of our mother. Even in his 90s, these last couple years his mind was was very active and sharp. He wasn’t interested in
wasting the opportunity to continue learning and mentoring. One story I’ll share,
although it’s not really more remarkable than any of the others is about a young man who
had joined the dining staff at the Senior Living Center where he and my mother had moved into. The young man was a waiter,
he served the meals to the residents whom our father called, “His fellow inmates.” (audience laughing) The young man was born right,
he was eager as industrious and he had a basic
education but this was not a job with any opportunity
for advancement. I don’t even think that
facility where they were knew the phrase mean career
advancement, career development, let alone thought that
it had any relevance to their minimum wage employees. But dad saw that this
young man had potential he mentored him, he helped him get a job on the nursing side of the facility which was a significant promotion, much more responsibility, interesting job. That’s one part of the story
which I don’t think surprises any of us, you can see
people with potential any one of them to succeed. The other wonderful part of the story is that all of the other staff,
very quickly figured out how these this promotion happened. (chuckling) They were in all of the power that Harold apparently had and they
treated him like royalty. I’m gonna ask for a waiver on my time. Thank you. The other story is about our father. (sniffing) As a devoted husband to care
for his wife as her health… She had Parkinson’s related dementia and he said that the plan was always that she would take care of him
and he is defining years. She was 11 years, his junior. But life doesn’t always work out… of course, he took such good care of her. Reading to her for hours a day they were in Tulsa whiskery, taking her for walks around
the lake in her wheelchair, feeding her at meal times and counting the staff to make sure that they
were taking care of her. We talked about how difficult it was, given the sheet was no
longer the hell that we had. And his response was, it’s what you do. And so, whereas she declined mentally in her last years, he remained as witty, engaged and
intellectually curious as ever, right till the end. (mumbling) Thank you. (audience applauding) – Thank you all. Just a few comments and Gita, thank you so much for arranging this. It means so much to us,
for us all to be together to celebrate dad and teachers college was just so incredibly meaningful to dad to Adam and I, you heard
about his stuffing envelopes. Well, for anyone here
who is a student of dads in the 70s or 80s, we
also created your papers. (audience laughing) So for that, I apologize when the Scantron was not working, that was our job. Look, Teachers College
was incredibly meaningful for all of us and it really
was a community and a family. What we’ve heard today
is what we’ve all known, dad was an incredible mentor, leader and role model and Adam touched on the biggest triumph was his being a role model as a loving husband and it was incredible to watch that and just how dad persevered through that. For us, that was incredibly meaningful and I can assure you that literally to the very end, he
commanded great attention and respect and I think what he would want more than anything else is that, we go on and make that impact
and carry that forward. So thank you again. (audience applauding) – When I came to Teachers College in 1995, Harold became my informal mentor. I didn’t know him, I never
studied comparative education but he did take me under
his wings and he always had advice, two pieces
of advice I remember and he would lift his finger
when he gave an advice. One of them was, “Promised
me to never ever work “for an international organization.” And then he added, “Even if they pay more “than a teacher’s college salary.” And the other one is, “Don’t waste your talent
with working for a project.” And the way he said project
was like something sinful he said it It started this
thing to work as a consultant. So most of his advice, I
followed some of it, I didn’t but he was always good to
me and always had an ear he would listen and he
would offer his advice. And as Susan said, he was
proud when I got tenure when it became promoted. I felt like he was proud of
me and I had his protection. How it was tech savvy, and I was amazed, I think it was three years
ago or two years ago, he enrolled in a MOOCs course
on 19th century history, and he loved the idea that
he had to correct assignments of others, and 2022 year old students had to correct his
assignments on the move. And he took great
pleasure explaining to us what he has learned in MOOC courses. As a scholar, and some
of you have mentioned that his work in Soviet education, that was the other thing we had in common. He also love to speak German with me. He was really a polyglot. He was very important in policy studies, comparative Policy Studies,
specially his work on salaries. He was interested in contradictions, one of the contradictions
he was interested in is how does the Soviet Union, the government of the Soviet Union, managed to pay different salaries to teachers and education staff, but make it seem that everyone is equal. So his whole work on the stuff cut system, which is to this day,
as he says institutions don’t change easily, is very influential in understanding the composition, the many supplements that exist in the Soviet models in the post Soviet and Russian salary system. So to this day, his work
is really influential in policy studies and planning. Let me talk about my last visit. My partner was here, and I saw Harold on
December 25 in Florida, less than two weeks before he passed. He was lucid, articulate
and funny, as always, but in very frail health. He invited us to the cafeteria where you would go in the afternoon. He ordered a scotch
but he didn’t drink it. He wasn’t in the mood of drinking anything but he was a gentleman and he
was known in the cafeteria, as the “Gentleman with
the British accent.” Nobody knew he was a professor, nobody knew his stature, nobody knew he was a Dean. He simply didn’t care. He wanted to have a good conversation. He was interested in an
interesting conversation. He was not into status,
he was very unassuming. He told us a funny
story in that cafeteria. He said he would go down to the cafeteria and he would meet others and they would always ask
him, so how many children do you have to just to have a small talk? And he realized that he would
give inconsistent answers. (chuckling) So many of you my duration, you know that cheap colognian 4711. So he’s thought of a way of remembering how many offspring he has, he said, four, seven, one. Four, seven, three. Four children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. That’s how you remember to say when you would be asked
how many children he had. He was filled with funny stories and interesting stories. And someone said he has an amazing story. His dear wife, Helen, who he loved, and the children is 4-7-3
offspring meant the world to him. And also the daughters in law and the partners of the family. When we asked him last year in December, how he was doing, he smiled and said, “What do you expect? “I’m 94.” And he continued, “All I
want’s to have a quiet exit.” And he kept repeating that. So, I would like to thank the speakers for reminding us today
of Harold’s presence in his academic community,
his family and his students. And they would like to thank all of you for gathering here today
at Teachers College to mourn his absence. (audience applauding)

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