Professor Emeritus Charley Schutz Passes Away in Ann Arbor

schutz2.jpgProfessor emeritus of political science Charles "Charley" Schutz died Friday, June 25 in Ann Arbor. He was 84. Survivors include his wife, Elaine Martin, children Alicia Martin-Schutz, Justin Schutz, Jason Schutz and three grandchildren.

Schutz came to Albion in 1964 as chair of political science, but has a legacy that reaches well beyond that department. A central figure in the creation of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, Schutz wrote the proposal that convinced President Ford to choose Albion College over other Michigan locations. With the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, Schutz not only helped craft the idea of a management Institute within a liberal arts institution, he raised nearly $400,000 to implement it. "I conceived it would add breadth to the liberal arts," Schutz said of the Gerstacker institute in 1998. "The Gerstacker institute integrates a superior quality student into the world of business."

schutz3.jpgA bright but self-described bored student, Schutz dropped out of high school to join the Marines. He spent a year in the South Pacific during WWII and was a veteran of the Battle for Iwo Jima. Although he never earned a high school or undergraduate degree, Schutz scored so high on a placement test that he was admitted to the University of Chicago's graduate school. Schutz eventually earned master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University.

"You either went to his class prepared, or you didn't go to class at all," Krista Hammerbacher Haapala, '96, told Io Triumphe in a 1998. Deeply committed to the Socratic method, Schutz was a notoriously rigorous teacher who insisted his students develop and defend opinions with equal rigor.

Haapala, now a clinical sexologist, recently recalled that Schutz's American Political Thought course "was the Mount Everest of classes. Not everyone made it to the summit, but those who did had the right to tell everyone else how harrowing the journey was. I am pretty sure Dr. Schutz liked it that way. He sincerely expected us not just to provide correct answers, but also to have a well thought-out defense and foundation for our thinking. I'm grateful for his influence on the quality of thinking I offer my professional world."

“Irascible. Challenging. Cantankerous. Brilliant: Charley Schutz’s picture could have adorned each dictionary entry," said Richard Smith, former editor-in-chief and current chair of Newsweek. "He loved to argue—even when he didn’t necessarily believe in the case he was making. And woe be to the timid or the unprepared.'

"As the years go by, it’s always the most demanding teachers who seem to linger longest in my memories. Charley remains near the top of that list," Smith concluded. "One of his pet academic interests was the role of luck, good and bad, and how it affected politics and people. I was lucky to go to Albion—and even luckier to have had Charley as a teacher.”

Before coming to Albion, Schutz also taught at Highland Community College and Wayne State University. During the 1960s, Schutz served as state director of the Michigan Center for Education in Politics and edited the Michigan Republican Quarterly. He wrote speeches for Robert Griffin's successful U.S. Senate campaign and spent a year working with Griffin in his Washington office.

Schutz was recognized as Albion's Scholar of the Year in 1980 with the publication of his book "Politics of Humor, Aristophanes to Sam Ervin." He was working on a revision of that book during his retirement, said professor emeritus of German Max Noordhoorn, who was close to Schutz. "He wasn't in good health for a few years before he died, but before that, he loved running and playing tennis. And his loved his dogs, the bigger the better," Noordhoorn said.

"Dr. Schutz was part of that postwar 'Chicago School' of creators and scholars who have had such a great positive impact on our world," noted Albion College President Donna Randall. "The College certainly benefitted from having him within the faculty, and there are many alumni who count him as a crucial and special part of their Albion education."

No memorial service will be held.

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