The College awarded an honorary degree on April 7 to Hyman Kleinman, a member of the literature faculty from 1964 to 1984; since his retirement he has continued to teach classes on campus under the auspices of the Friends of the Sarah Lawrence College Library. At the same event, the Friends celebrated 30 years of community support to the College.
Hyman Kleinman, you knew at a young age that you had been born to teach. Today, two decades after your official retirement, teaching remains your joy and your calling: at community centers, public libraries, churches and synagogues throughout our region, and here on Monday afternoons at the Esther Raushenbush Library, you share your knowledge and love of literature, and nurture students of all ages through the great adventure of learning; in so doing you have helped foster support for Sarah Lawrence, and knowledge of its distinctive style of education, in new communities. Throughout your more than 40-year association with this College, you have embodied the intellectual vitality, creative freedom and pedagogical rigor that characterize the Sarah Lawrence education. While a member of the faculty from 1964 to 1984, you were beloved as not only a classroom teacher but also a don, adviser, confidant and friend, so much so that many alumnae/i still keep in touch with you-sending you birthday wishes, updates on their lives, photos of their children-decades after they last strode the walkways of Sarah Lawrence as students. Those who have returned for reunions have done so partly to reconnect with you, finding in you both the personal warmth of their closest peers and the passion and insight into learning that mark the greatest educators. The supply of cookies, jelly beans and tissues that were celebrated props in your faculty office were just physical manifestations of the deep fulfillment you found in helping young people grow, both within and outside the bounds of their formal education. A former teaching colleague and student at your Friends of the Library classes established the College's Hyman H. Kleinman Fellowship, which honors your "humanity, wisdom and love of teaching." Teaching has indeed been your life's care and mission and, in continuing these last 20 years to share freely your gift of knowledge, you have been a generous ambassador for Sarah Lawrence and the personification of all that makes our school wonderful and extraordinary.