Newsletter Fall 2010 Melvin Rader Endowment

Melvin Rader Endowment

The Melvin Rader Endowed Fund was established in October of 2009 by Philip and Estelle DeLacy. It will provide funds for student fellowships in philosophy. The generous endowment honors former philosophy faculty, Professor Melvin Rader.

Rader was born in Walla Walla, Washington in 1903, and received three degrees from the UW (B.A., 1925; M.A., 1927; Ph.D., 1929). He joined the UW Philosophy Department as an Assistant Professor in 1930 where he went on to teach ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy for 51 years (10 as active emeritus). He earned national distinction for his work as a humanist and scholar in the field of aesthetics. He served as President of the State ACLU in 1973. His book False Witness, published in 1969, is a dramatic and moving story of his persecution by the Canwell Committee (Joint Legislative Fact Finding Committee on un-American Activities) during 1948 and 1949. Rader spent 15 agonizing months trying to clear his name, and with the help of Ed Guthman, a Seattle Times investigative reporter, and many others, he was finally exonerated in 1950 by State Attorney General, Smith Troy. Later in his life, Rader had this to say regarding his exoneration:

I was deeply stirred by these events, not only because I was personally vindicated but because justice prevailed. As I stated to Guthman: 'Thanks to the fact that I live in a democracy and that many people have helped me, I have been able to clear my name.' In this one instance at least, misrepresentation and blind prejudice had been defeated by fair play and a free press.

News Category: