The New York Times is reporting that Ruth B. Mandel, the longtime director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey and a legend in the New Jersey political world, has died at 81.
Mandel headed the renowned institute from 1995 until her retirement last year. She founded Eagleton’s Center for American Women and Politics in 1971 and headed it until 1994.
She was the author of In the Running: The New Woman Candidate, which chronicled women’s experiences as candidates for political office.
President George Bush appointed her to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1991, and President Bill Clinton named her vice chair in 1993. The Times said she was born in Austria in 1938 was a passenger aboard the MS St. Louis, known as the Voyage of the Damned, where nearly one-thousand Jewish refugees were denied entrance into the United States. The ship returned to Europe and Mandel lived in England until age ten.
“The loss of Ruth will be felt not just by Eagleton, by Rutgers, and by The National Holocaust Museum, but by the thousands of students, colleagues, and friends whose lives she has touched in her inimitable, deeply caring way,” said John Farmer, Jr., her successor as director. “The community – the family, really – that Ruth built and nurtured here at Eagleton wants nothing more at this moment than to gather to celebrate her life and to mourn. Although the current public health emergency prevents us from meeting in person, I assure you that we will offer opportunities for virtual gathering, and will come together in person on a brighter day to celebrate Ruth’s presence in all of our lives.”
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez called Mandel “a legend and a pioneer who guided the Center for American Women and Politics and the Rutgers Eagleton Institute into becoming among the nation’s most renowned and respected centers for political science.:
“She helped elevate and give women a permanent, lasting voice in politics,” Menendez said. “Ruth was a teacher, a mentor and an inspiration for generations of future leaders.”
The Times’ obituary of Mandel is a must-read.
Mandel is survived by her husband, Jeffrey Lucker, her daughter, Williams College president Maud Mandel, and two grandchildren.