Theodore Jay Lowi, author and professor of government at Cornell University, died in Ithaca, New York on Friday, February 17. He was 85. Named as one of the most influential American political scientists of the last half century, Lowi served as president of the American Political Science Association (APSA) from 1990 to 1991, and as president of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) from 1997 to 2000.
In a career filled with honors and accolades, Lowi was a Guggenheim fellow (1967-68) and a fellow in the National Endowment for the Humanities (1977-78). APSA presented him with the prestigious James Madison Award in 2008.
Lowi was proud of his written legacy. His first classic, The End of Liberalism, published in 1969 and still in print, examined how government expanded by responding to organized interests. A staple in collegiate political science classes, his textbook American Government, first published in 1976, has added authors, adjusted subtitles with changing times, and is in its 13th edition. In 1964, he edited Robert F. Kennedy’s book, The Pursuit of Justice, which offered detail on Kennedy’s term as attorney general.
Lowi believed the undergraduate experience could be enhanced by direct access to policymakers, archives, and Washington culture. He developed the Washington idea, and President Frank H.T. Rhodes and Provost Keith Kennedy approved it in fall 1979. Cornell in Washington started the following spring and remains a vibrant program.
Lowi is survived by daughter Anna Lowi and son Jason, and four siblings. He was predeceased by his wife, Angele, in 2015, and a brother.
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