Who Is Harvey Goldberg?

photo_harveyFor over twenty years, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, Professor Harvey Goldberg educated, informed, entertained, and inspired students at Oberlin College, Ohio State University, and the University of Wisconsin. Lecturing to packed audiences, he helped them to understand the dynamics of revolution and counter-revolution, imperialist ambitions and national resistance movements, the folly of potentates and the potential of ordinary people to come together and work toward a common good. Above all, he showed his students how the critical thinking he modeled in his teaching, together with the spark of their own youthful energy and iconoclasm, could create positive change in the world. With his crisp, precise diction and the distinctive cadence of his speech, he held his listeners spellbound for fifty minutes or more, peppering his lectures with anecdotes and asides that ranged from the hilarious to the deeply moving. Students quickly perceived in him a rare combination of intellect, integrity, and warmth. Though few knew him personally (his classes were too big), he made them feel as if they did. As Goldberg told one class at the end of a long and difficult semester: “It is possible, this kind of enterprise, or it is important, this kind of enterprise, only if there is a collectivity about it. . . . It is a certain kind of interchange that I have liked and that I appreciate and for that I thank you.”