Stanley K. Sheinbaum to Receive Honorary Degree
Political activist, economist and philanthropist Stanley K. Sheinbaum will receive an honorary degree from Occidental College, a recognition of his more than four decades of work on behalf of constitutional rights, education, human rights, and world peace.
Sheinbaum will be awarded with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at Occidental’s 122nd Commencement on Sunday, May 16.
Born in 1920, Sheinbaum did his undergraduate and doctoral work in economics at Stanford. He taught there and at Michigan State, where from 1955-60 he was the campus director of a technical assistance group whose members served – under contract to the State Department – as advisors to the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem. Sheinbaum, who at first welcomed the notion of lending Western expertise to the Third World, grew disenchanted after learning that some of the personnel he hired were CIA agents.
After moving to Santa Barbara to become a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Sheinbaum became an outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam. He served as a consulting editor to Ramparts magazine and twice ran for Congress while in Santa Barbara.
From 1971-73, Sheinbaum raised a $900,000 defense fund for Daniel Ellsberg (and co-defendant Anthony Russo), a former Defense Department analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. The documents, which were a secret study of U.S. decision-making about Vietnam, traced three decades of growing U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Publication of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post set in motion a series of events that led to President Nixon’s resignation.
Sheinbaum went on to serve for nine years as chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, and continues to serve as a member of the ACLU National Advisory Board. From 1977-89, he was a member of the University of California Board of Regents and, for the past 22 years, he has been a board member of the Tel Aviv-based International Center for Peace in the Middle East.
In 1988, Sheinbaum, a long-time American Jewish Committee board member, led a delegation of five American Jews that was successful at getting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to recognize Israel and to disavow terrorism. Sheinbaum is the founding publisher of New Perspectives Quarterly, and in 1989 he founded the West Coast affiliate of the Human Rights Watch. From 1991-93, he was president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners in the wake of the beating of Rodney King.