Moakley Chair Established

Moakley Chair Established

Political scientist Kay Schlozman chosen as inaugural chairholder

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

For Kay Schlozman, the University's first J. Joseph Moakley Professor in Political Science, passing along the political sense and spirit of service embodied by the late Massachusetts congressman has become a renewed priority.

Moakley Professor Kay Schlozman with Robert (left) and Thomas Moakley, brothers of the late J. Joseph Moakley, at the March 26 ceremony announcing the establishment of a chair in political science named after the Massachusetts congressman. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"I consider this to be an enormous honor and a sobering responsibility," said Schlozman, who is also chairwoman of the Political Science Department. "There is so much in the Moakley legacy that articulates what is important to communicate to students in the field of American politics."

Schlozman was formally announced as inaugural holder of the Moakley Chair at a March 26 ceremony held in the John J. Burns Library. Five members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation joined University President William P. Leahy, SJ, in marking the establishment of the teaching post endowed in honor of Moakley, a South Boston Democrat who served 29 years in Congress before his death from leukemia last May.

"Joe Moakley was a man who loved politics," said US Rep. James McGovern, a former Moakley aide. "Being called a politician was a badge of honor, whether it involved solving neighborhood issues or formulating foreign policy."

Stephen Lynch, who won election last year to Moakley's old seat, also attended the ceremony, as did Massachusetts congressmen Michael Capuano, Edward Markey and Richard Neal.

"This is a fitting tribute to a great man," McGovern added. "It gives me great pleasure to know that there will be a series of generations to come that will look at politics in the same way that Joe Moakley did."

Fr. Leahy said, "It is very appropriate that there be a Moakley Chair established at Boston College because of all of the things that Joe did for this city, for Boston College and for members of the Society of Jesus."

Moakley headed up a special congressional task force to monitor the investigation of the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter at the University of Central America in El Salvador.

The commission's efforts contributed to the trial and conviction of Salvadoran military officers for their part in the crime and were credited with helping lead to peace accords ending the nation's 12-year civil war.

Fr. Leahy said the establishment of the Moakley Chair will "make sure that the commitment to human rights, law and justice that were so much a part of Joe's life grow and deepen in our world."

Interviewed recently, Schlozman said eulogies delivered by University of Massachusetts President William Bulger and former President Bill Clinton during the funeral services last year summed up her perception of Moakley's political legacy.

"Bulger said, 'His helping hand was always extended in genuine recognition of the responsibility he believed was his to make things better for those in need of encouragement and inspiration,'" she recalled.

"President Clinton said, 'Joe Moakley proved you could disagree without being disagreeable, that you could fight and have honest differences without hurting your adversary.'

"Those are two principles that involve what I try to do as a teacher of American politics," Schlozman said.

A member of the Boston College faculty since 1974, Schlozman teaches courses on parties and the electoral process, political behavior and public opinion, organized interests, women and politics and rights in conflict.

Schlozman's research interests include American civic voluntarism and politics, political parties and elections, and interest groups. She is co-author of the recent book, The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender and the Paradox of Unequal Participation.

She is a graduate of Wellesley College and earned her master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Chicago.


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