Political science standout, first WMU elected chair Greenberg dies at 88

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Milton Greenberg.

Dr. Milton Greenberg

A former Western Michigan University faculty member who was the first elected department chair at WMU and a nationally known political scientist and expert on the GI Bill died Aug. 27 in the Washington, D.C., area.

Dr. Milton Greenberg, 88, professor and provost emeritus at American University, died after a brief illness. He was a WMU faculty member from 1955 to 1969. After leaving WMU, he went on to serve as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University and as vice president for academic affairs at Roosevelt University before joining American University as provost in 1980. He later served as interim president at AU.

Milton Greenberg

During his time at WMU, Greenberg was a member of the political science faculty. In 1962, he and colleague Dr. Jack C. Plano published a major reference work, "The American Political Dictionary," which became a staple in political science classrooms and eventually was published in 11 editions through 2002.

Also during his time at WMU, Greenberg became the first departmental chairperson elected by the faculty to lead an academic department. Prior to that event in 1965, department heads were appointed by the administration. Greenberg also served as president of the WMU Faculty Senate.

Before launching his academic career, Greenberg served during World War II as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Following the war and with the help of the GI Bill, he was able to earn his bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

Throughout his career, Greenberg wrote about the impact the GI Bill had on the nation's post-war development. In 1994, the 50th anniversary of the passage of the GI Bill, Greenberg served as guest editor of a special edition, "The GI Bill's Lasting Legacy," of the American Council on Education's magazine. Subsequently, he was engaged as a consultant for, appeared in and wrote the companion book for the 1997 PBS Television documentary "The GI Bill: The Law That Changed America."

In 2004, for the 60th anniversary of the GI Bill, Greenberg published an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about "How the GI Bill Changed Higher Education." After the June 2008 passage of the post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, he was the author of another article for the Chronicle comparing the new and older versions of the historic legislation.