Jump to content

John Arthur, 60, dies from lung cancer


Recommended Posts

John Arthur, 60, dies from lung cancer

By Melissa Dennihy,

After a long and arduous battle with lung cancer, John Arthur, the renowned professor of philosophy and director of Binghamton University’s philosophy, politics and law program, died Monday. Arthur, who was 60 years old, was under hospice care at Lourdes Hospital and passed away in the early morning hours with his wife, Amy Shapiro, by his side.

Arthur was diagnosed last winter break, and announced that he would not be returning for the Spring 2006 semester, saying that he was “very sad” not to be able to teach.

A professor at BU since 1988, Arthur focused his research on legal and political philosophy as well as ethics, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from philosophy of law to constitutional theory to legal interpretation. Harpur College Dean Jean-Pierre Mileur called Arthur the “architect” of the PPL program — one of the University’s largest majors, with about 150 graduating students per year — and described the program as “campus’s most important pre-law major.”

Prior to joining the BU faculty, Arthur taught at the University of Tennessee at Nashville as well as at Tennessee State University, where he served as the chair of the department of philosophy. He received his BA from Cornell University in 1968 and his doctorate from Vanderbilt University in 1973.

Throughout his career, Arthur was the recipient of several honors and awards, including the 1993 University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the 1993 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, a 1997 award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor, National Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society and a 2002 Service for Students with Disabilities Certificate of Appreciation. Author of three books and editor of seven others, Arthur also published numerous articles on topics such as freedom of speech, multiculturalism, freedom of religion, racism and reparations. His fourth book, “Race, Equality, and the Burdens of History,” is forthcoming in July 2007.

Both beloved and controversial, Arthur was also a member of the West Side Neighborhood Association and a proponent of the proposed zoning laws which seek to keep BU students out of certain areas of the West Side neighborhood in order to preserve a “family atmosphere.” In 2002, he participated in the WSNA’s efforts to make Leroy Street, a popular location for student housing, into a historical site. According to a statement made by Assistant Director of Off Campus College David Husch in a 2002 Pipe Dream article, Arthur and his wife rented part of their home out to a different student each year despite the fact that Arthur was a WSNA board member.

Described as a “distinguished scholar and gifted teacher” by Mileur, Arthur was also respected and loved by many of his students.

Senior PPL and philosophy major Simon Ouderkirk, who took both PHIL 345: Philosophy of Law and PHIL 146: Law and Justice with Professor Arthur, called him a man of “decorum and grace,” adding that he “regarded his classroom with a certain humor and a bright curiosity which is often … lost by those who teach for as long as he [did]. Whether behind a desk or before an oversized lecture … he was a man of quiet, honest nobility and intelligence.”

Arthur was buried Wednesday in Denver, Colo., where both he and his wife grew up. Services in Binghamton will take place today and tomorrow, with a shiva to follow in the days after. Parson’s Funeral Home, located at 71 Main St., will have calling hours from 4 to 8 p.m. today, and a memorial funeral service is planned for tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Church on Riverside Drive. All are welcome to participate in these services as well as the shiva.


Other articles about Philosophy, politcs and law (PPL) (ACADEMICS) / Staff (of the University) (ADMINISTRATION)

Favored professor may return in the fall (Tuesday, April 25, 2006)

Popular PPL professor battling against cancer (Tuesday, January 24

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.