Statement In Memory of Susan Eaton
I rise today to express my sadness on the tragic early death of
Susan Eaton, a wonderful woman who had recently become a noted professor
at Harvard University's Kennedy School, but had also spent many
years as an effective advocate for the rights of workers, particularly
low-paid workers, throughout this country. Susan died of complications
from leukemia on December 30, at the age of 46. Susan was also the
wife of another remarkable person--my friend, Marshall Ganz--who
worked with Cesar Chavez 39 years ago to help create the United
Farm Workers union and who has continued doing pathbreaking organizing
work over the last 39 years, as well as also becoming a Kennedy
like to submit for the RECORD an obituary of Susan Eaton, which
appeared in the Harvard Gazette. TEACHER, RESEARCHER ADVOCATE--A
WHOLE LIFE. Esteemed Kennedy School faculty member Susan C. Eaton
died Dec. 30 of complications from leukemia. She was 46.
was a tireless advocate for the rights of workers, both as a union
organizer and in her teaching and research at the Kennedy School.
Her husband and fellow faculty member Marshall Ganz expressed it
well: ``She was a deeply committed person, a person who walked the
walk. She translated her values into action in her teaching, in
her research, and in her public life.''
an assistant professor of public policy, completed her Ph.D. in
industrial relations and organizational studies at the Sloan School
of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She
received her master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy
School. Her research focused on challenges faced by low-wage workers,
particularly women providing health care, and the role of work organizations,
including unions, in addressing these challenges. Last summer, Eaton
received a Robert Woods Johnson Award to study the links between
quality of work and quality of care in the nursing home industry.
Eaton's writings focused on work-family issues, women's roles in
union leadership, union-management relations, and the role of management
in the quality of nursing home care. She was editor of the online
Civil Practices Network and contributed to several other industry
journals and publications.
to entering academia, Eaton worked for 12 years as a union negotiator,
trainer, and manager for the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU), AFL-CIO, and CLC.
the Kennedy School faculty in 2000 and became a highly regarded
teacher, whose human resources course, ``Leading and Managing People
Well,'' received consistently high marks, exemplifying the leadership
model she tried to teach.
a heightened awareness of others to our community in her breadth
of research and passionate dedication,'' said Kennedy School Dean
Joseph S. Nye Jr. ``She was a person who cared--about social justice,
about her work, about her students, about her colleagues. While
comfortable with the abstractions of social justice, she applied
her concerns every day in the way she treated each of us as individuals.''
School Associate Academic Dean and Director of the School's Weiner
Center for Social Policy Julie Boatright Wilson reflected on the
loss of a colleague and a friend.
a vibrant presence on the fourth floor of the Taubman building,''
said Wilson. ``She had time for all of us, was interested in what
everyone was thinking about and working on, and had advice and ideas
and wisdom she willingly shared. Even more than what Susan did for
us is what she did for the low-wage employees she had spent her
life working with and working for. Everything about Susan's activities--her
scholarship, her teaching, her day-to-day interactions--exhibited
her commitment to improving the lives of those who provide the services
we all need but for which we seem remarkably unwilling to pay a
teaching earned her enormous respect from students while her research
brought attention to the issues that touched her heart. ``She demonstrated
that nursing homes and hospitals could both do better by their workers
and improve the quality of care simply with better management practices.
Much of her work spoke to the dignity that both caregivers and patients
seek and deserve. This readily generalizable lesson seems so terribly
important in this increasingly marketized era,'' said David Ellwood,
Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at the Kennedy School.
was co-winner of the 1996 Margaret Clark award of the Institute
of Gerontology for the paper ``Beyond Unloving Care: Linking Nursing
Home Quality and Working Conditions.'' Her other recent writings
included: ``Career as Life Path'' in ``Career Frontiers: New Conceptions
of Working Lives,'' edited by Maury Peiperl et al. (Oxford University
Press, 2000); ``Work and Life Strategies of Professionals in Biotechnology
Firms,'' Annals of the American Academy of Science, March 1999;
and ``Pennsylvania's Nursing Homes: Promoting Quality Care and Quality
Jobs,'' Keystone Research Center, April 1997.
to Ganz, Eaton is survived by her father, William J. of Washington,
D.C.; her mother, Marilynn, of Alexandria, Va.; and her sister Sally
Misare of Castle Rock, Colo."