Professor Sherman Raskin Celebrates 50 Golden Years of Teaching at Pace

1963 was a watershed year - President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, The Feminine Mystic is published, and James Meredith is the first African American graduate of the University of Mississippi. It was also the year Sherman Raskin, a new father and a part-time actor, joined the ranks of Pace University teaching basic English and freshman composition.

This year, Pace University is honored to mark Professor Raskin’s 50th anniversary of distinguished service.

Professor Raskin was born in 1937 in the Bronx, NY, the youngest of two siblings. To his father’s delight, Raskin wanted to be an actor and studied it at Columbia University, earning a BFA in Acting. His mom, on the other hand, worried and wondered why a man so bright wouldn’t become a doctor or an accountant. Raskin appeared in film, commercials and television shows including the NBC DuPont Show of the Week: Ride with Terror where he played a young bookworm held hostage on a subway car by hoodlums. Eventually, he would go on to earn a MA in English from Columbia University.

Professor Raskin’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit have contributed significantly to shaping Pace into the remarkable institution it is today. In 1978 he was appointed Chair of the English department where he served for 24 years. Under his tutelage, what were then new concepts in higher education - honors sections, learning communities, women and gender studies courses, a film studies minor - flourished. He was instrumental in organizing and hosting the Dyson Lectures in the Humanities, a series of talks by distinguished guests including Joyce Carol Oates, Budd Schulberg and Gloria Steinem and Wendy Wasserstein, among others. The lecture series ran for more than 20 years and contributed significantly to the level of intellectual discourse.

In 1984, he and Allan Rabinowitz (Pace ’57), a retired professor of Accounting and Publishing, launched the Master of Science in Publishing program and in 1986 he became the program’s director. 27 years later, he’s still the program director. Adding to his portfolio of responsibilities, in 1990 the Pace University Press, a publisher of academic books and journals, was established with Professor Raskin as its helm. Until 2002 Professor Raskin oversaw all three departments at once.

“Sherman Raskin has worked tirelessly throughout his career at Pace with a dedication that knows no bounds. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to build new programs in the English department and to develop the graduate Publishing program, where he expanded Pace’s international presence in China,” said Nira Herrmann, dean, Dyson College. “All of us at Dyson congratulate him for reaching this notable milestone and thank him for his significant contribution to the University.”

“When I look back I’m very fortunate and very grateful. There are many schools that don’t give you the opportunities I found here. Pace has always allowed one to grow,”; said Professor Raskin, “and for that, I’ve loved my work for 50 years.”

Perhaps Professor Raskin’s greatest pleasure comes from family. When he’s not fostering new programs or shaping the minds of students, Professor Raskin enjoys going to the theater and museums with Paula, his wife of 49 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren – Noa, Ari and Taro - with whom he also loves to spend time. He recalls one of the greatest summers ever. “My granddaughter Noa was 12 and she got into the American Ballet Theater’s summer intensive program. That summer she stayed with Paula and me, and every morning we’d get on the LIRR and go into the city. After class, I’d pick her up. She would be hungry so I’d stop at Barnes & Noble and get her a chocolate chunk cookie and a lemonade. On the train ride home, she’d sit reading her book, drinking her lemonade, eating her cookie and I just looked at her and thought, ‘boy, am I lucky.’”