Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Remembering Julie

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of the Julius Margolis Memorial Reception, click on: .
My lasting remembrance of Julie Margolis (pictured) relates to his genuine warmth and friendliness, especially when I, as an economics bibliographer, would show up at his home and review materials from his personal library that he was kindly donating to UCI Libraries. My last meeting stands out - this was more recently, when he was fully into his post-retirement career as Jules Margolis - the artist. That time, he was more interested in showing me his paintings than talking about his book collection. At his side as usual was his wonderful wife, Doris.

Jules Margolis, "Shaman I", 1993, oil on canvas.

When the Economics Department at UC Irvine publicly held a memorial reception 16 May 2012 to honor the emeritus Professor, Julie was definitely there in spirit. For the gathering, held in the Mathematical Behavioral Science's Luce conference room in Social Sciences Plaza Building A, was graced by his artistic work - Shaman I - painted oil on canvas in 1993 - and donated by Duncan and Carolyn Luce - that was hanging from a corner, unobtrusively.

While much of the memorial session was rightly devoted to his brilliance as an economist (he had headed the Fels Institute at Harvard before Irvine), and his intellectual impact on countless economists in the field today, including Anthony Downs - people who developed the field of public choice - the real fireworks, if one can call it that, came when Bill Parker, Physics chair at UCI, but once a top campus administrator, related Julie's experiences with university administrators - whom Jule, Bill related, called them "bastards." In fact Bill Parker said he and Julius Margolis had a good cop/bad cop type of relationship - as they worked together on faculty health and welfare issues system-wide as well as on campus. On campus, they both are credited with the establishment of University Hills, for UCI faculty and staff - the housing development in Irvine adjacent to the campus.

Margolis' daughter Jane Peterson, with Bill Parker in background, at her father's memorial gathering. Photo © 2012 Daniel C. Tsang

Julie Margolis was a founder of GPACS - the Global Peace and Conflict Studies program and center at UC Irvine. That commitment to peace studies reflected Julie's upbringing, raised in New York City and having attended City University of New York. Daughter Jane Peterson, who spoke at the memorial, recalls exclaiming "Orange County!" when his dad announced he planned to the post in economics at UC Irvine. Given her father's reputation as a curmudgeon, life in the Margolis household was never dull, with the dad always having the last word. Jane's husband, Mark Peterson, a UCLA political scientist, remembers Julie exhorting him to become active in faculty governance issues, and still encounters academics who owe an intellectual debt to his father-in-law.

It may signify the passage of an era, for the same day as the Margolis gathering, another memorial event was happening, the memorial reception for Larry Howard. Indeed Larry had faithfully visited Julie in the hospital every day for several weeks and both passed away within weeks of each other. Both had been active in GPACS and shared a kindred spirit in peace and justice and in peace research.

Julie Margolis' legacy continues, in the Margolis Lecture series set up by GPACS, in the faculty he nurtured, and on Google Scholar. Additional artwork by Jules Margolis is included in a UCI obit. - Daniel C. Tsang.

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