Foundation Receives Bequest from Sidney P. Albert Revocable Trust

May 27, 2014: 

The AAUP Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of a gift from the Sidney P. Albert Revocable Trust, in accordance with his testamentary wishes. Sidney P. Albert was an AAUP member for 65 years (1946–2011), and had a long and illustrious career of service to the Association. He earned his BA (1934) and MA (1935) in philosophy from Syracuse University and a PhD in philosophy from Yale University in 1939. Subsequently, following an almost five-year stint in the Army during World War II, he conducted post-doctoral studies in drama and theater at Carnegie Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, and Columbia University. He spent the majority of his academic career at California State University, Los Angeles, where he was appointed assistant professor of philosophy in 1956, associate professor in 1960, and full professor in 1964; he served in this position until his retirement in 1979.

Albert first learned of the AAUP while teaching philosophy at Syracuse University. He was invited and nominated for membership by a colleague, as was the protocol of the time, and was admitted to membership in October 1946. He was an organizer and charter member of Triple Cities College’s AAUP chapter in 1947 and served as its first secretary-treasurer (1947-1948). Triple Cities College became Harpur College in 1950 (it is now known as SUNY Binghamton), and Sidney was elected to a one-year term as chapter president. He went on to join the faculty of Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles “CSULA”) in 1956 and became a member of the campus AAUP chapter. His service to the CSULA chapter included terms as treasurer (1959-1961); executive committee member (1960-1961); president 1962-1963; chapter delegate to the AAUP national conference (1963); and past president (1963-1964). Sidney also actively participated in the founding of the Southern California conference of the AAUP (which eventually evolved into the California conference of the AAUP), spearheaded by his campus chapter, and was designated as one of the college’s representatives to the conference (1963-1964).

Albert’s most notable work and achievement on behalf of faculty was his work on issues concerning retired faculty, which came about as he and other emeriti colleagues encountered dismissive attitudes among university colleagues toward retired faculty and their use of university services and resources. Albert founded the CSULA Emeriti Association in 1978 and served on its executive committee for five years before being elected to a term as vice-president (1983-1985). He then went on to found the CSU Association of Emeriti Professors (now known as the CSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association “EFRA”) in 1985 and was elected its first president. In 1980, the California conference of AAUP invited Sidney to chair its new Committee E on Emeriti and Retirement Issues and in that capacity to become a member of the conference executive committee. As chair of Committee E, Albert led the California conference’s work in developing an “Emeriti Bill of Rights” recommending rights and privileges that should be accorded retired faculty. He gave a presentation on emeriti faculty issues at the national AAUP Council meeting in June 1986, and his article, “Retirement from Rite to Rights,” which incorporates “A ‘Bill of Rights’ for Emeriti” was published in that year’s July-August issue of Academe. He also initiated and served on a panel session titled “Challenges of Retirement” at the 1987 AAUP Annual Meeting, which was held at the University of Southern California. Sidney continued to advocate for the rights of emeriti faculty, including, in addition to personal correspondence, another panel session, “Challenges of Retirement” at the 1996 Annual Meeting and an informal talk on “academic discrimination a half-century ago” which he gave when accepting his 50-Year honoree certificate at that same meeting. Albert passionately believed in the value and contributions of emeriti faculty and exhorted AAUP and others that “the concerns of emeriti are the proper concerns of the entire profession.”

Exemplifying his remarks during the 1996 panel session, “I sing the professorial afterlife. There is life after retirement.” Albert, a noted scholar on the works of George Bernard Shaw, realized the culmination of almost 60 years’ of academic work with the publication of his book Shaw, Plato, and Euripides: Classical Currents in Major Barbara in 2012, at the age of 97.

Sidney P. Albert was a passionate and ardent supporter of AAUP, and the AAUP Foundation is honored by his legacy to continue the support and implementation of AAUP principles for the betterment of the academic profession.