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Faculty and students remember Professor Martin Pine

This space is dedicated to remembrances of our dear friend and colleague Martin Pine.

Marty was our Renaissance man not only in area of expertise, but also in his far-ranging knowledge on virtually all subjects of culture and history. During the years that he and I had offices across from each other, we'd often chat about anything and everything.  What we tend to forget, however, while praising his scholarship and intellect, is that Marty was also a dedicated teacher. He frequently turned the topic of our conversation to students, pedagogy, standards, and the like. He was tough but fair to his students, I could tell, and I had the feeling they respected him for it. With both of our doors open — Marty's was always open — I could hear him sometimes engage students for long periods of time. I'll miss hearing his voice drift across the hall. He was a true original, a kind man, and a generous colleague.


Peter Conolly-Smith

This is very sad news.  Marty was the first person I had contact with at Queens when he was running the search to replace Marion Kaplan.  I was looking for liberation from Beloit when I got the call to come interview - that friendly, playful New Yawk voice on the phone was like a little life raft, and Marty never ceased to be a mentor.  We have lost someone truly special.


Julia Sneeringer

Marty Pine was a brilliant, warm, and generous colleague. From the moment I was hired at Queens College, he and his wife, Ann, embraced me and my family.  After we moved to Mount Vernon--not too far from them--they were eager to share their knowledge of the hidden treasures and places to avoid in our new neighborhood.  Marty was an unmistakable presence in the department. He always had a story to tell or a bit of wisdom to convey.  Whatever he did, he did with kindness and integrity.  He will be sorely missed.


Premilla Nadasen

Erudite is the right word.  I remember my first year at Queens, there was a room (now a classroom) right outside the History Office on the second floor.  It was known as the bull-pen because it housed about 5-6 young instructors/adjuncts.  There were a group of young Europeanists--Marty, Don Kelley, Jim O'Connell.  I was teaching 3 sections of Western Civil having had exactly one survey course in European history as an undergraduate.  I would stop in to get advice.  When I told them I didn't understand Hegel, on e said (I don't believe it was Marty) that Hegel stood Marx on his head.  I'm still puzzling that.  All the Europeanists seemed far more erudite, well-read, sophisticated than I was (it wasn't only they seemed; they were).  I had never heard of Pico or Pompanazzi (?) and here was Marty to try to explain them to me.

He told funny stories and anecdotes about people and colleagues--never mean spirited, but often revealing a different side from the obvious.  And funny things happened to him.  In that first year, when he told the class he was engaged to Ann, a young woman student with a crush on Marty staged a sit-down (really a lie-down) in the corridor outside the History Office.  Later she deliberately flunked the course so she could take it over with him.

Marty worked tirelessly for the department without complaining unless it was hidden from the rest of us.  During Keith Eubank's long time as chair, he and Jon Peterson did most of the nitty-gritty work (scheduling etc).  And in these years of intra-departmental tensions, he was a friend to all.

Aside from the personal support he gave me as chair and aside from his advice on so many, many things, I always appreciated his thoughtfulness towards the secretaries.  We shared a belief that they were the most overworked and underpaid people on campus and that anything we could do to make their lives a little better, we should do.  From Norma Ross through Francine, Marilyn, and Alex he was their friend and supporter.

Frank Warren

Marty (if I may; he said he hated that nickname, but I always call him that out of affection) was the first person I met at Queens College.  He was assigned as my faculty mentor when I was hired.  If the job of the faculty mentor is to explain to the newcomer the inner workings of the college, then he and I collaborated in a colossal failure, because we talked about anything but.  If, however, the job of the faculty mentor is to make you thank your stars that you got this fantastic job, with a colleague who can be equal parts funny and serious, as is appropriate to the moment, and sometimes at the same time, then Marty was a thorough-going success.  We covered all kinds of ground – family, scholarship, movies, politics, Italy, food, and, of course, the Renaissance.  One thing that Marty truly loved to talk about was his son Lewis.
I long for another conversation with Marty.  I want to present my argument against bio-pics one more time, and one more time hear his familiar but fruitless, and ultimately funny, funny rebuttal.  I want to hear him, and see him, talk, and gesticulate, about Silvio Berlusconi.  I want him to slap the table with an open palm when he laughs and laughs.  I want to go to a museum with him, as we did recently, and wordlessly wander the exhibits together, and then go for coffee, and commend or criticize the curators for this triumph or that mistake.  And then laugh about it. 
Like my colleague Julie said, what I will remember and cannot forget is Marty’s “funny, playful New Yawk voice”, and the way it hit the upper registers when he wanted to make a smiling point.
Joel Allen

Martin and I were together in a seminar at Columbia in the fall of 1955. I had just started teaching at Queens.  My chairman, Dick Emery, seemed to like my classroom performance and asked me to recommend a colleague from Columbia.  Obviously, Martin was the only one I considered.
Martin and I kept in touch after my retirement, filling me in periodically on the gossip at QC.  It was an honor to know Martin as a friend and colleague.  We shall all miss him.
Stuart Prall

I am sorry to hear about Professor Pine. He was always supportive of the work I did in his Renaissance class, even if it seemed to be a little off the beaten path. I learned so much from him.


I had on my To Do list to email him to let him know that I was officially accepted into University of South Florida’s doctoral program for Curriculum and Instruction. What is particularly bittersweet is that I just learned on Monday that my faculty advisor had recommended me for a Graduate Fellowship and I have received it. I'm not completely sure what the details are, but it will at least cover my full tuition. I wish I could have been able to send him this email. I know his recommendation was instrumental in this opportunity.


Andrew Watson-Canning

Dr. Pine was a wonderful teacher who was instrumental in my choice of History as an undergraduate major (Queens) and for my Ph.D. (Yale).  I still have my notes from his History 22B. According to my notebook, we had a 500-750 word paper due on de Tocqueville on May 15, and the final was on May 27, 1964. I guess it was no wonder that when after a long and winding path I ended up teaching Constitutional Law at a law school, once again I was talking about de Tocqueville and other writers that I first learned through him.
I was privileged to be Dr. Pine’s student.
Laura Oren



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