Lynn Weiss Memorial

portrait of Lynn Weiss

Lynn Stuart Weiss died on April 17, 1971, the victim of cancer at the age of twenty-five.  Her untimely death truncated a promising scholarly career. Even more tragically, it stilled a vibrant, sensitive, intensely human personality. To have known Lynn Weiss is to have seen how admirably soft-spokenness, keen intelligence, moral conviction, dedication, optimism and wit can be amalgamated into personal charm. Now, to remember Lynn Weiss is to be inspired by a life of accomplishment and warmth.

At Columbia University, where she began her graduate studies in political science in February 1967, Lynn focused her attention and her research on problems of international politics, law, and organization. During 1968, she prepared and submitted a major piece of original research titled "Patterns of Agreement and Disagreement Concerning the Concept of Nation as Defined by Delegates to the United Nations." Her thesis was prompted by her questioning of the apparent inefficacy of the United Nations in situations clouded by international legal ambiguity. For her work she was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Public Law and Government in June 1969. At that time she was inducted into the American Society of International Law. By early 1968, Lynn had been admitted to doctoral candidacy in the Columbia University Department of Political Science, and in 1969 she successfully completed her written qualifying doctoral examinations in international relations.

Lynn Weiss's interests in the science and art of politics and her career aspirations were consistent with her personal philosophy of compassion. Though she was very much a realist and not for an instant misled by false optimism, Lynn nonetheless determined to devote her professional life to ennobling and enlightening human relations. Through her research in international relations she sought to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of institutions and instrumentalities for promoting conciliation and maintaining peace among nations. She hoped, too, in her aspired capacity as a university teacher, to use her understanding of the means to peace to enlighten maturing generations. In addition, she looked toward the possibility of national and international civic service in the hope that she might affect the world more directly.

Lynn learned in November 1968 that she had cancer. Choosing not to reveal her illness to anyone at the university, Lynn bravely continued to work toward her life's goals until death overtook her two and a half years later. Lynn's Columbia classmates remember her seriousness of purpose and her personal warmth and vitality. Her instructors remember her enthusiasm and excitement for learning and her careful and inspired work. Those who never knew Lynn Weiss might gain inspiration from her philosophy of compassion and her uncompromising dedication to realizing her ideals.

Lynn's legacy to graduate students in the Columbia University Department of Political Science includes a fellowship, a library, a resource room, and travel grants funded through the generosity of her teachers, friends, and parents, Drs. Raymond and Rosalee Weiss.