In Memoriam: Ruth B. Mandel, 1938-2020

Ruth B. Mandel, who served for 24 years as director of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, died on April 11 at her home in Princeton, New Jersey. She was 81 years old and had suffered from ovarian cancer.

Mandel was a native of Vienna, Austria. When she was an infant, Mandel and her family fled Europe before the onset of World War II. Some 900 German Jews were aboard a ship that was refused entry to the United States and had to return to Europe. Many on aboard were later victims of the Holocaust. Mandel’s family was allowed to stay in England, and then immigrated to the United States after the war.

Dr. Mandel earned a bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in English and American literature from the University of Connecticut.

Before joining the faculty at Rutgers University in 1971, Professor Mandel taught at the University of Pittsburgh and at what is now Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. At Rutgers, she was a Board of Governors Professor of Politics and a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). As a founder and director of CAWP, Dr. Mandel built a national center with multifaceted research, education, public service, and information programs on women’s political participation. She was the author of In the Running: The New Woman Candidate (Ticknor and Fields, 1981).

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Dr. Mandel to the governing body for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She served on the board for 14 years, including a term as vice chair.

Kelly Dittmar, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden and scholar at CAWP, said, “Ruth Mandel was not only a pioneer in the field of women and politics, blazing a trail for those of us who came behind her, but she was also a generous and tenacious champion for the next generations of students, scholars and practitioners who shared her commitment to better politics through women’s empowerment and inclusion.”

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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