In Memoriam: Sharon Anderson-Gold

The STS Department is deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, friend, and Department Head, Professor Sharon Anderson-Gold.

From President Shirley Ann Jackson

To:    The Rensselaer Community
From:  Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
       Professor of Physics
       Professor of Engineering Sciences
Date:  September 28, 2011
Re:    The Passing of Sharon Anderson-Gold


It is with great sadness that I report to you the recent passing of Sharon Anderson-Gold, professor and chair of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and chair of the steering committee for the Interdisciplinary Programs on Design and Innovation (PDI).

Dr. Anderson-Gold was a Rensselaer faculty member for more than 30 years, and was named chair of STS in 2004. Professor Anderson-Gold was a major philosopher, specializing in Kantian ethics and political philosophy, most recently the modern implications of his work on cosmopolitanism, the nature of evil and human rights. Additionally, she wrote on bioethics and environmental ethics. She served as president of the North American Kant Society and organized the first Biannual Conference in 2010 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Society for International Law and Ethics and the International Standing Group on Kantian Thought.

During her time at Rensselaer, Dr. Anderson-Gold taught dozens of courses including undergraduate courses in Philosophy of Law, Biomedical Ethics, Ethical Issues in Computing; and graduate seminars on Kant's Practical Philosophy, Modern Epistemology, and Environmental Philosophy.

Dr. Anderson-Gold wrote two books - Unnecessary Evil: History and Moral Progress in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights - and published 40 refereed journal articles and essays in edited collections. Her latest work, Kant's Anatomy of Evil (ed. Anderson-Gold and Muchnik) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010.

She joined the faculty of the Department of Philosophy at Rensselaer in 1979 and became an STS faculty member in 1999. Prior to becoming STS chair, Dr. Anderson-Gold served as acting and associate dean of what was then the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, chair of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum committee, and co-founder and director of the First-Year Studies Program, an interdisciplinary faculty-team-taught program for freshmen.

Dr. Anderson-Gold earned her doctoral degree in philosophy and master's degrees in political science and philosophy at The Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City.

A service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue in New York City, and the family will receive friends at their home in New York City that evening.

Please join me in taking a moment to reflect on the life of Dr. Anderson-Gold, and to remember with great fondness and admiration the many contributions she made to the Institute, and to the well-being of our students.