Radcliffe Institute Mourns Judith Vichniac, Who Led the Radcliffe Fellowship Program from 2001 to 2018

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
October 23, 2019

Judith Vichniac passed away on October 22. She was founding director and later associate dean of the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program from 2001 to her retirement in 2018.

Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin shared the news with the Radcliffe community this morning:

"I write with a heavy heart to share that Judy Vichniac, founding director of the Radcliffe Fellowship Program and a dear friend and colleague to many of us, passed away yesterday afternoon. Judy had a profound impact on the lives and careers of hundreds of fellows—myself included—who benefited from her warmth and unwavering support over the years. Judy was a beloved member of the Harvard community for nearly four decades, and I can say without any hesitation that neither the Fellowship Program nor the Institute itself would be what they are today, were it not for her."

Prior to her appointment at the Institute, Vichniac spent her academic career at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences as director of studies and senior lecturer in social studies, an interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration.

An expert on Western European politics, Vichniac taught courses on social and political theory, political sociology, history and memory, and French politics. She is the author of The Management of Labor: The British and French Iron and Steel Industries 1860–1918 (JAI Press, 1990) and coeditor of Democracy, Revolution, and History (Cornell University Press, 1999), a Festschrift published in honor of Barrington Moore, Jr., a Harvard sociologist and author. She had been working on a monograph on the memory of the Dreyfus Affair in contemporary France. Vichniac received her BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and her PhD from Harvard's Department of Government.

In recognition of Vichniac's many years of service to the Institute and lasting impact on the Fellowship Program, Brown-Nagin announced that the Institute will name the lounge in Byerly Hall, the home of the Fellowship Program, in her honor:

"Many of us fondly remember her using this space to gather fellows informally and build the strong sense of community that was a hallmark of her leadership. The space will now be called the Judith E. Vichniac PhD ’81 Commons."

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