Campus mourns former political science professor

Duke Archive Photo
Charles Rubin, a current political science professor at DU, and his wife Leslie pose for a photo for a 2013 Valentine’s Day article. The Rubins had taught together at Kenyon College and then Duquesne from the 1980s until Leslie’s retirement in 2015.

Raymond Arke | News Editor

10/19/17

Duquesne is mourning the loss of one of their own after the sudden passing of Leslie Rubin, a former long-time political science professor and wife of current political science professor, Charles Rubin. Charles is on sabbatical at Princeton this semester and Leslie was living with him when she was struck by a truck while crossing the street, according to various news reports.

Leslie and Charles met at Boston College as graduate students and married in 1981. They then taught together at Kenyon College. They both began teaching at Duquesne in 1987, according to a 2013 Duke article.

She had retired in 2015, according to James Swindal, dean of the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts.

A variety of former colleagues paid tribute to Leslie and her time at Duquesne. Clifford Bob is the current chair of the political science department and worked alongside Leslie for years.

“We found her to be very friendly, thoughtful and warm,” he said.

Her classes mostly pertained to political philosophy and American political development, Bob explained.

“She had fascinating things to say about Aristotle and how his ideas were used by the Founding Fathers,” he said.

Bob described her as “devoted” to teaching, Duquesne and her students, who she interacted often with both as a professor and as advisor to Phi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors fraternity.

He also said that the whole department is saddened by the news.

“All of us in the department are shocked and upset by this. We feel sorry for the family and Charlie, our colleague,” Bob said.

Mark Haas, also a Duquesne political science professor, had worked with Leslie.

“She was a wonderful colleague and teacher,” he said. “She was generous with her time, patient and put her students’ needs first.”

Haas recalled how much he enjoyed talking and interacting with her.

“She was always cheerful, and took delight in asking me about my family and telling me about hers,” he said. “We will all miss her.”

Joan Lapyczak was the political science department administrative assistant for 24 years during Leslie’s time at Duquesne. She remembers Leslie very fondly.

“She was the kindest person I have ever met. She was always a professional and never had a mean word to say about anyone,” Lapyczak said.

She specifically recalled Leslie’s “wonderful smile” that would “light up the room.”

“I will always have Leslie in my heart as she was the best at all that she did,” Lapyczak said.

Swindal remembered Leslie’s “expertise” in constitutional law and ancient political theory. He said that one of her works will be released soon.

“Her monograph, America, Aristotle, and the Politics of a Middle Class, will be published posthumously by Baylor University Press,” he said, “It was in many ways the culmination of her scholarship, showing how Aristotle’s work is compatible in so many ways with America’s projection of the virtues of a middle class republic. She thus showcased how relevant Aristotle’s thought remains to contemporary political thinking.”

Swindal also said that students enjoyed Leslie’s classes and spoke fondly of her.

“Rubin will be particularly remembered for the popularity she had as an instructor with a large number of students. Many of them fondly remember her incisive and stimulating teaching,” he said.

He also expressed his sympathies to the Rubin family.

“With her husband, Dr. Charles Rubin of the Political Science department, we mourn the loss of her to her family and friends and to her profession,” Swindal said.

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