MARVIN BRESSLER, a popular teacher and adviser in the sociology department who left his mark on the University’s curricular and extracurricular offerings, died July 7 in Skillman, N.J. He was 87. A faculty member from 1963 to 1993, Bressler chaired the Commission on the Future of the College, which in 1973 produced a review of educational and social opportunities for undergraduates. The report envisioned “a place where students can learn from one another,” and made recommendations that included enhancing interdisciplinary studies and expanding new facilities like the Third World Center (now the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding).
Bressler also chaired the sociology department for 20 years. As a scholar, he devoted much of his research and writing to higher education and also studied health care, cultural pluralism, and the moral implications of sociobiology. A close friend of basketball coach Pete Carril, Bressler served as a mentor for generations of Princeton men’s basketball players and inspired the Academic-Athletic Fellows Program, which connects faculty and staff with varsity sports teams. Three Princeton classes — 1968, 1971, and 1982 — named Bressler an honorary classmate.
[A memorial service for Bressler will be held Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. at Robertson Hall's Dodds Auditorium. A reception will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. at Prospect House.]
NORMAN RYDER *51, a sociologist and demographer best known for his studies of fertility in the United States, died June 30 in Princeton at age 86. As a Princeton graduate student, he established the “cohort” approach, studying a group of people born in the same period of time who go through life together.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Ryder and Princeton sociologist Charles Westoff co-founded and co-directed the influential National Fertility Studies. Through thousands of interviews, the studies documented attitudes and behavior toward childbearing and contraception. Ryder and Westoff later assisted in the development of the World Fertility Survey. Ryder taught at the University of Wisconsin for 15 years before joining the Princeton faculty in 1971. He retired in 1989.
ROBERT C. TUCKER, a professor of politics and international affairs who wrote two widely read biographies of Joseph Stalin, died in Princeton July 29. He was 92. Tucker gained his expertise on the Soviet Union firsthand, traveling to Moscow in 1944 for what would be a nine-year stay at the U.S. embassy. He entered academia soon after his return to the United States.
Tucker served on the Princeton faculty from 1962 to 1984, founding the Program in Russian Studies. He wrote extensively about Marx before beginning his work on Stalin. Cold War diplomat George F. Kennan ’22 called Tucker “one of the great students of Stalin and Stalinism,” according to The New York Times.