Dr. Ralph B. Ginsberg, professor of education and chair of the educational leadership division in the Graduate School of Education, died Saturday, July 31, of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Bristol, England, where he was vacationing with his wife, Lois, who is the associate director of the Dynamics of Organization program at Penn. He was 62 years old.
Dr. Ginsberg was a distinguished scholar whose career at the University spanned 36 years and encompassed a wide range of disciplines beginning with sociology, where his qualitative studies in applied probability were considered invaluable to studies of migration, housing rehabilitation and community development, insurance decisions, and labor market processes.
Trained as a humanist from his early days, Ralph Ginsberg earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in English Literature from Brown in 1958, then studied philosophy as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Princeton, and moved to sociology for his Ph.D. at Columbia.
He joined Penn as a lecturer in sociology in 1963, and was named assistant professor of sociology on receiving his Ph.D. in 1966. In 1972 he became associate professor of sociology and public policy analysis, with regional science added to his title in 1979. A year after that he became full professor of regional science, sociology and public policy. Dr. Ginsberg also held visiting faculty appointments at Princeton, Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Umea University in Sweden.
Dr. Ginsberg's interests were not bounded by a field or discipline, colleagues recall. "Ralph had a sociological imagination-he asked creative questions about everything," said Dr. Laura Miller, a former student and colleague of Dr. Ginsberg. In the late 1980's, his studies led him to investigate theoretical questions about the learning process and, through a colleague at Johns Hopkins, he became involved in research of study abroad programs. These studies eventually led Dr. Ginsberg to a secondary appointment as professor at the Graduate School of Education in 1995, and to appointment as professor of education the following year.
At GSE, Dr. Ginsberg studied and taught the interconnections between technology, learning, organizational structure and educational reform. His timely and creative research in technology and learning issues were crucial to the school's teacher preparation program, colleagues note, and they led to his invitation to be guest editor for the most recent version of IEEE's Technology and Society Magazine. His other major projects included foreign language learning in computer-supported environments and study abroad programs, film analysis and the interpretation of video data, statistical graphics and data analysis, and computer support for reflective conversations on the practice of teaching.
"Ralph was an excellent University citizen," said Vinnie Curren, general manager of WXPN, who knew Dr. Ginsberg as both a WXPN board member and as a mentor for Mr. Curren's studies in Organizational Dynamics. "He was a very dedicated advisor. He spent a lot of time with his students and knew how to talk to them." Dr. Ginsberg enjoyed teaching in the cross-disciplinary Organizational Dynamics program, Mrs. Ginsberg said, because he "valued the experience of learning from his students, who had interests and exepertise in many different fields."
Dr. Ginsberg was editor of the Journal of Mathematical Sociology, served on the editorial boards of several international journals, and was deputy director of the National Foreign Language Center in Washington, D.C.
At various times Dr. Ginsberg served as Secretary of the Faculty Senate and as a member of the Senate Executive Committee; chaired the graduate group in public policy analysis and the FAS educational policy committee; and held secondary appointments in the Wharton School (1975-93), School of Public and Urban Policy (1970-82), and the South Asia Regional Studies (1987-99). He was also a research associate with the Population Studies Center and a fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Dr. Ginsberg is survived by his wife, Lois; two daughters Marjorie and Alice--the latter a Ph.D. candidate at GSE--a son, Geoffrey; and three grandchildren. A memorial service is being arranged (215-898-9792 for information).
Dr. David K. Hildebrand, a distinguished professor of statistics who chaired the Faculty Senate in 1992-93 and twice served as moderator of the University Council, died on July 13 after a long struggle with cancer.
He was 59 years old, and had spent 34 of those years on the Penn faculty.
A 1962 Carleton College alumnus who took his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Hildebrand joined the Wharton School as a lecturer in 1965 and was named assistant professor the following year. He was promoted to associate professor in 1970--the year he also also served as visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon--and he became full professor at Wharton in 1977. He chaired the Department of Statistics from 1985 to 1990, and during two years of that time he took his first University-wide role in governance as moderator of the University Council--a role then being reintroduced to the structure under conditions of controversy. His humor and collegiality were credited with making the position workable, and he was to hold it again in 1997 at Council's request.
As a teacher and scholar of statistics he made contributions on many levels. On the research front he published (with James D. Laing and Howard L. Rosenthal) respected technical studies on models and methods for the analysis of categorical data, and on applied probability. At the same time provided some of the basic texts that made statistics come alive for students aiming toward other careers. His 1983 book with Lyman Ott, Statistical Thinking for Managers, is now in its fourth edition and has spun off an MBA-level Basic Statistical Ideas for Managers. He also produced, in 1986, Statistical Thinking for Behavioral Scientists.
In discussions on University educational standards during the 1970s he argued the need for "universal numeracy" equal to the need for "universal literacy" in today's world. In return, he introduced into his own final exams, if not quite poetry, some rhyme that he reasoned would ease tensions for his students:
Oh sing of the glory of stat; Of sigma, x-bar, and y-hat! The joy and elation Of squared correlation-- Does anyone here believe that!
Or, for behavioral scientists:
The rats had been carefully matched, But cages weren't carefully latched. Without any waiting, 'Twas randomized mating, With nary a rat unattached.
With memorable brevity he once sent an administrative decision back to the drawing boards by publishing (Almanac May 27, 1986):
To Ye Editor I see that the stores at 34th and Walnut are to be called The Shoppes at Penn Square. I assume that among the shoppes will be a floriste, a computer shackcke (Ecce DECce?) and a drugge storre. Ah, pretension.
After his diagnosis last year Dr. Hildebrand continued to teach into the fall semester, giving courses for three of the 12 cohorts of the MBA program--and despite his illness did so at a level which won him an award from one of the cohorts for "best teaching in the core curriculum."
Dr. Hildebrand is survived by his wife, Patricia Gach Hildebrand, who is the Database Administrator of Social Science Computing in the School of Arts and Sciences, and their sons, Martin V. and Jeffrey D. Hildebrand. Remembering his youth and college days in Minnesota, Dr. Hildebrand used to tell his family that his dream was to create for his alma mater a fund for the removal of snow and ice, giving new meaning to the term "slush fund." His college has agreed, and checks for the 1962 David Hildebrand Memorial Fund may be sent to Carleton College, Attn: Elissa Ecklund Chaffee, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057.
A Penn memorial service is being planned for Friday, October 1, at 2 p.m., with the location to be announced. (After presstime, Logan Hall room 17 was announced as the location for the service--Ed).
Betty Muther Jacob, who was known in her years at Penn for contributions to multinational studies of comparative political values, died in Honolulu on August 17 at the age of 89.
Joining the University in 1945 when her husband, Dr. Philip Jacob, was named to the faculty here, Mrs. Jacob held a variety of staff posts at Penn--one of them as administrator of International Studies of Values in Politics, which the Jacobs established in 1960 as the first large-scale comparative political science research program involving communist countries.
She joined her husband in 1970 at the University of Hawaii as Research Associate of the Social Science Research Institute where she became the coordinator of the International Automation and Industrial Workers project. She continued her involvement in international research and with the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with Professor Henry Teune in the Democracy and Local Governance project, spanning 30 countries.
Betty Jacob was active in the American Friends Service Committee and other international agencies. She also served as special assistant to the executive directors of UNRRA, 1945-46, and UNICEF, 1947-54.
She is survived by her children Sally, Kirk, and Stephen. Remembrances may be sent to the Matsunaga Peace Institute at the University of Hawaii, where a memorial service was held for Mrs. Jacob shortly after her death.
Dr. Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, a lawyer and anthropologist who was a lecturer and research associate in ethnohistory at Penn in 1979-81, died on August 20 at the age of 61.
A Swarthmore alumna, Barbara Kopytoff worked with children at the Eastern Psychiatric Institute before taking her Ph.D. in anthropology at Penn, awarded in 1964. She then became known for her work on the Maroon population of Jamaica, teaching at Temple, Johns Hopkins, and Lehigh as well as at Penn during the fifteen years she devoted to those studies. With grants from the NIMH, NSF and NEH, she did fieldwork in Accompong town and archival work in Kingston and in England as she traced the ethnohistory of the escaped slaves who formed a distinct culture in the Jamaican interior.
In the late 1970s her interests turned to law, and she studied at McGill University and at Temple, where she took her J.D. magna cum laude in 1987. For the next two years she did research with the late A. Leon Higginbotham, publishing with him on legal issues relating to race, slavery and surrogate motherhood. In 1990-92 she was an associate with the Philadelphia firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis, but throughout her career in law she "found her greatest satisfaction in clerking for federal judges," according to her husband of 31 years, Dr. Igor Kopytoff, professor of anthropology. She served as law clerk to Judge Higginbotham and to Judge A.J. Scirica when they were on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and to U.S. District Court Judges William H. Yoh, Anita B. Brody, and John R. Provoda, for whom she was clerking at the time of her death.
A memorial service was held on September 2 at the University Museum for Dr. Kopytoff, who is survived by her husband; their daughter Larissa, who is now a Penn undergraduate; and three brothers.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 2, September 7, 1999