Department of Politics

Roche-Slapin Fellowships

The Department of Politics offers several Roche-Slapin Fellowships to support PhD study in political science. The fellowship is endowed by a bequest from Kenneth Slapin ’61, a passionate political and community activist in his native Norwalk, Connecticut, who died in October 2009. Mr. Slapin's gift honors the memory of John Roche, who joined the Brandeis faculty in 1956 as the Christian Herter Professor of Politics and History and served as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1958-61.

"Ken had very happy memories of his years at Brandeis," said Thomas Fredo, a longtime friend of Slapin and the administrator of his estate. "He had very high regard for John Roche, and for the education he received. His pride in and gratitude to Brandeis is demonstrated through this gift."

The Department will continue to offer fellowships from the Gordon Center for Public Policy to support PhD study in American politics and public policy.

John P. Roche (1924-1994)

In 1956, Abram L. Sachar, the first president of Brandeis, asked John Roche, then professor of political science at Haverford College, to join the faculty of Brandeis University as Christian Herter Professor of Politics and History, and to create the university's Department of Politics. Roche served as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1958-61. His main areas of scholarship were political theory, constitutional law and the formative era of the American Republic.

Professor Roche was a consultant to John F. Kennedy when Kennedy was a Senator and later when he was President, wrote speeches for Senator and later Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey and was a special adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968. He was a cofounder of Americans for Democratic Action and served as its president from 1962 to 1965.

His best known academic works were "The Founding Fathers, a Reform Caucus in Action," "American Political Science Review" (1961), "Courts and Rights" (1961), "The Quest for the Dream: Civil Liberties in Modern America" (1963), "Shadow and Substance: Studies in the Theory and Structure of Politics" (1964), and "Sentenced to Life: Reflections on Politics, Education and Law" (1974).