Deaths: Doris Graber

Doris Graber

Doris Graber

Doris Graber, 94, professor emeritus of political science, died Feb. 17 at her Evanston home.

Graber, a founding member of the UIC department of political science, was a pioneer in the study of political communication and public opinion, and she was widely considered an international leader in the field.

Some of her most influential works involved the effect of public opinion on the presidency and foreign policy, and the role of the media in American politics and political psychology. Survey research techniques she developed continue to be used extensively in contemporary political science research.

At the time of her retirement in Aug. 2012, she was among the top 100 most cited scholars in political science.

“Her contributions as a scholar, mentor, administrator, colleague, and friend are beyond measure,” said Evan McKenzie, professor and head of political science. “I don’t know how anybody could live a fuller life. Everyone who knew her will miss her.”

Graber published 18 books, many in multiple editions and languages, and hundreds of book chapters, articles and book reviews. Her book Processing Politics: Learning from Television in the Internet Age was awarded the 2003 Goldsmith Book Prize by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Among her numerous professional scholarly accomplishments are career recognition awards from organizations such as the International Society of Political Psychology, the National Communication Association and the American Political Science Association. The latter group’s political communication section bestows an annual award in her honor that recognizes the best book published on political communication in the last ten years.

Graber was recognized for superior teaching and research at UIC when she was named a University Scholar in 2003. She held several departmental administrative roles during her career and served in various committee and service capacities for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the university.

She was hired by UIC as a lecturer in 1963, when the school was based at Navy Pier, and promoted to assistant professor in 1964, associate professor in 1967 and professor in 1970. She previously held appointments at Northwestern University, University of Chicago and North Park College.

Graber was an avid skier, world traveler and mother of five children.

“I love my work, my students,” she said in a 2003 UIC News profile. “I love to tell my women students you can have it all.”

Graber is remembered by colleagues and former students for brining scholarly distinction and visibility to the university, while being a department pillar and role model to many.

“She was smart, gracious, leader and mentor to generations of students, a number of whom have gone on to be university faculty around the world,” said Dick Simpson, professor of political science. “She helped make UIC and political science what they are today.”

Graber earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Washington University in St. Louis and a doctoral degree in international law and relations from Columbia University.

She is survived by her children Dr. Lee Graber, Dr. Tom Graber, Jack Graber, Dr. Jim Graber, and Dr. Susan Graber Robbins; 14 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband Dr. Tom Graber.

Private family services have been held. Plans for a campus memorial will be announced later.

Memorial donations may be made to the Doris A. Graber Endowed Graduate Fellowship, University of Illinois Foundation, 601 S. Morgan St., 2503 University Hall, MC 002, Chicago, Illinois, 60607 or online.

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