The Robinson Professors

Vassily Aksyonov

George Mason University Libraries, “Vasily Aksyonov,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Vasily Aksyonov was a well-known Russian novelist who grew up under the oppressive rule of Joseph Stalin. Although originally trained as a medical doctor in Russia, Aksyonov decided to pursue a career as a novelist after Stalin’s death in 1953. He soon gained widespread recognition for this work– which was highly critical of the communist party– and by 1980 he would move to the United States, settling in Washington, D.C. He served as a Robinson Professor at George Mason University from 1988 to 2004, where he taught literature courses and continued to write. He moved back to Russia in 2004, and lived there until his death in 2009.1

Shaul Bakhash

George Mason University Libraries, “Shaul Bakhash,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Shaul Bakhash is a Robinson Professor Emeritus at George Mason University, where he specializes in the modern history of the Middle East. He has a special interest in the history of Iran. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Harvard University, and a D. Phil. degree from Oxford University. His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, books, and newspapers. He previously taught at Princeton University before coming to George Mason University.2

Spencer Crew

George Mason University Libraries, “Spencer Crew,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Spencer Crew serves as Robinson Professor of American, African American, and Public History at George Mason University. He has served as president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and been involved with other historical institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and the National Council for History Education. He is a graduate of Brown University, and earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Rutgers University.3

Paul D'Andrea

George Mason University Libraries, “Paul D’Andrea,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Paul D’Andrea is the Robinson Professor Emeritus of Theater and English at George Mason University. After earning a B.A. degree in Physics from Harvard University, he went on to study philosophy at Oxford and to earn a Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard. He is a well-known playwright, and he helped found Mason’s theatre program. He has also taught at Harvard University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Chicago.4

Robert Hazen is the Robinson Professor Emeritus of Earth Science at George Mason University. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and earned his Ph.D. in Earth Science from Harvard University.5 His research focuses on the role of minerals in the origin of life, and he has also been highly involved with scientific education reform. Outside of his academic career, Hazen has had a successful career as a symphonic trumpeter– having performed and appeared as a soloist with numerous professional orchestras.6

Hugh Heclo

George Mason University Libraries, “Hugh Heclo,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Hugh Heclo served as Robinson Professor of Public Affairs from 1985 until his retirement in 2014. He was known as an expert on American democratic institutions and the international development of modern welfare states. He has authored numerous books on public policy, government and politics, and religion. Before coming to Mason, he served as a professor of government at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.7 Upon his retirement, he was given Professor Emeritus status. Heclo passed away in 2017.8

Carma Hinton

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor Carma Hinton,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/carma-hinton/.

Carma Hinton is the Robinson Professor of Visual Culture and Chinese Studies at George Mason University. She was born and raised in Beijing, China, and Chinese is her first language and culture. Hinton earned a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University. She has previously taught at Swarthmore College, Wellesley College, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and she also lectures around the world on Chinese culture, history, and film. She has directed thirteen documentaries about China, which have been shown in film festivals worldwide.9

Thelma Levine

George Mason University Libraries, “Thelma Lavine,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Thelma Lavine served as Robinson Professor of Philosophy from 1985 until her retirement in 1998. She completed her undergraduate studies at Radcliffe College in 1936, and earned doctoral degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from Harvard University in 1939. Lavine was an active and respected professor of philosophy within the Washington, D.C. area– having taught at the University of Maryland and George Washington University before coming to Mason. She was known as an advocate of the American branch of philosophy, and was an active scholar in the fields of social philosophy, American naturalism, philosophy of history, and philosophy of literature. Lavine passed away in January of 2011.10

Harold Morowitz

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor Harold Morowitz,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/harold-morowitz/.

Harold Morowitz served as the Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy at George Mason University. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1951.11 Before coming to Mason, he served as Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Master of Pierson College at Yale University. Morowitz was a scholar on the thermodynamics of living systems, the origins of life, and other popular scientific topics. Morowitz also served as Staff Scientist and founding Director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at Mason. Morowitz passed away in March of 2016.12

John Paden

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor John Paden,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/john-paden/.

John Paden is the Robinson Professor Emeritus of International Studies. He completed his undergraduate studies at Occidental College, earned a M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), and received his Ph.D. in Politics from Harvard University. Previously, he has served as the Director of African Studies at Northwestern University, Professor of Public Administration at Ahmadu Bello University, and as Dean and Faculty of Social and Management Sciences at Bayero University. He has a special research focus in Asia and Africa. In addition, he is the Co-Founder/Co-Director of Mason’s Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and is the Co-Founder of Mason’s International Commerce and Policy graduate program.13

Steven Pearlstein

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor Steven Pearlstein,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/steven-pearlstein/.

Steven Pearlstein serves as the Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University. He earned his B.A. in American Studies from Trinity College in 1973, and went on to have a successful career in journalism. In addition to teaching at Mason, he currently serves as a business and economics columnist for The Washington Post. In 2008, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his columns which anticipated and explained the recent financial crisis. Since coming to Mason in 2011, Pearlstein has specialized in teaching economics to non-economics majors, and also offers seminars in the Honors College.14

Laurie Robinson

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor Laurie Robinson,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/laurie-robinson/.

Laurie Robinson is the Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University. Robinson has served as the Assistant Attorney General heading the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs during the Clinton and Obama administrations. In 2014, President Obama appointed Robinson co-chair of a task force set up to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Previously, she has served as the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s M.S. program in Criminology, in addition to serving on numerous national boards.15 Since coming to Mason in 2012, she has taught undergraduate, honors, and capstone courses on criminal justice.16

James Trefil

George Mason University, “Robinson Professor James Trefil,” photograph, Robinson Professors, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/james-trefil/.

James Trefil serves as the Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University. He has a special interest in teaching science to non-scientists, and has written extensively on scientific concepts for general audiences.17 In addition, he is the Chief Science Consultant to a new middle school science curriculum being developed. Before coming to Mason, he was previously a University Professor and Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia.18

Egon Verheyen

George Mason University Libraries, “Egon Verheyen,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Egon Verheyen served as Robinson Professor of Humanities at George Mason University. He earned a Ph.D. in Art History in 1961 from the University of Würzburg.19 He immigrated to the United States in 1966, and went on to work as a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Wesleyan University, the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia before coming to Mason in 1987. Verheyen retired in 2008.20

Roger Wilkins

George Mason University Libraries, “Roger Wilkins,” photograph, Special Collections Research Center, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.

Roger Wilkins served as the Robinson Professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1953 and his J.D. 1956 from the University of Michigan. Wilkins spent the first part of his career as a government official, working for the Ohio Welfare Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and serving as Assistant Attorney General under President Johnson. He would then go on to work as a journalist for many reputable newspapers, and he would earn a Pulitzer Prize for his work with The Washington Star newspaper in its coverage of the Watergate Scandal. Wilkins came to Mason in 1986, and served there until his retirement in 2007.21

[1] “Guide to the Vassily Aksyonov Papers, 1980s-2004,” Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 2, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/aksyonov.html#.
[2] “Shaul Bakhash, Professor Emeritus,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 2, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/shaul-bakhash/.
[3] “Spencer Crew,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 6, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/spencer-crew/.
[4] “Paul D’Andrea, Professor Emeritus,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 6, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/paul-dandrea/.
[5] “Profile: Robert Hazen,” Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, November 3, 2008, https://cos.gmu.edu/aoes/profile-robert-hazen/.
[6] “Robert Hazen, Professor Emeritus,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 7, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/robert-hazen/.
[7] “Hugh Heclo (1943-2017, In Memoriam),” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 12, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/hugh-heclo/.
[8] “In Memoriam: Hugh Heclo, Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs,” News at Mason, George Mason University, August 10, 2017, https://www2.gmu.edu/news/440611.
[9] “Carma Hinton,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 12, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/carma-hinton/.
[10] “Guide to the Thelma Z. Lavine Papers, 1932-2007,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 12, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/lavine.html.
[11] “Guide to the Harold J. Morowitz Papers, 1944-2016,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 12, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/morowitz.html.
[12] “Harold Morowitz (1927-2016, In Memoriam),” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 12, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/harold-morowitz/.
[13] “John Paden, Professor Emeritus,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 13, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/john-paden/.
[14] “Steven Pearlstein,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 13, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/steven-pearlstein/.
[15] “Laurie Robinson,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 13, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/laurie-robinson/.
[16] “Clarence J. Robinson Professors,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 13, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/robinson_professors.php.
[17] “Guide to the James S. Trefil Papers, 1965-2009,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 13, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/trefil.html.
[18] “James Trefil,” Robinson Professors, George Mason University, 2020, accessed May 13, 2020, https://robinsonprofessors.gmu.edu/about/james-trefil/.
[19] “Egon Verheyen,” Scholars, Institute for Advanced Study, 2020, accessed May 13, 2020, https://www.ias.edu/scholars/egon-verheyen.
[20] “Guide to the Egon Verheyen Papers, 1959-2008,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 13, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/verheyen.html.
[21] “Guide to the Roger Wilkins Papers 1968-2008,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries, accessed May 13, 2020, http://scrc.gmu.edu/finding_aids/wilkins.html.
The Robinson Professors