No one in the Department of Political Science knows what a year at Brown is like without Alan Zuckerman.
"Anybody who is here — he had a hand in hiring," said James Morone, professor of political science and department chair. "When we had a faculty meeting about who we were going to hire, he would be the loudest voice in it. ... So we're all, in some sense, his legacy."
Zuckerman, who specialized in comparative politics, died Aug. 20 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March, about a month after his 64th birthday. He leaves behind his wife Roberta, three children and a department he was part of since 1970 and chaired from 2002 to 2005.
According to Morone, he hardly missed a day in his 39 years at Brown.
"He was fearless. If he thought you were doing something that he disagreed with, in your classes, in your writing, in your teaching — anywhere, he would come up to you and say, ‘You know, I don't agree with you,'" Morone said. "He lives on — not just as a memory, but in what we do."
Zuckerman began his studies focusing on Italy and Israel and later researched the influence of culture — people's professions, family and community — on political preferences, according to Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science.
"He thought a good researcher made a really good teacher," Schiller said. "He was demanding and challenging."
He authored or co-authored seven books. His latest, "Partisan Families: The Social Logic of Bounded Partisanship in Germany and Britain," was awarded best book published in 2007 by the International Society for Political Psychology.
"It wasn't work for him. It was a passion," said the late professor's son, Gregory. "He was a guy who would have kept writing and researching until they took his computer away."
Jackie Codair '11, a student in one of Zuckerman's classes last spring, said Zuckerman expected a lot of his students.
Codair said Zuckerman stopped her one day after class last spring and tapped her on the shoulder. "He was like, ‘Jackie, you talked a lot in class today and that was really great,'" Codair recalled. "It just made my day."
He was "just such a nice guy," she added.
Zuckerman was active outside Brown, too.
"He was a guy with tremendous passions," Gregory Zuckerman said. "They ranged from Brown to the New York Yankees to the Rhode Island Jewish community."
His daughter, Shara Shetrit, said, "I guess I didn't really have a sense of how important his work and his career was to him. He was really involved a lot with the family."
He came home for dinner at 6 p.m. every night to be with his children and Roberta, who had been his high-school sweetheart.
"He never missed a chance to tell us he loved us," Shetrit said. "He was the best dad in the world."
For his 64th birthday in February, Shetrit said she sent him a card about a month late. He happened to received it the day he was diagnosed with cancer.
Later he told her how happy and moved he was to get the card that day.
Even after the diagnosis, Zuckerman continued to focus on the positives in his life — despite receiving the most aggressive cancer treatment available, according to his son Ezra.
"It was great for us also," Ezra Zuckerman said, "because if you have someone like that who is dying and is in a positive state of mind, you can't help but be positive, too."
Zuckerman died with his family around him at the Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island.
"He's a guy who squeezed everything out of his 64 years," Gregory Zuckerman. "I'm comforted by that."