Flashing Back to Capture Governors State’s History
When it comes to the reach of late political pundit Paul Green, pictures tell the story. There he is with former and current presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump; Chicago mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel; Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.
The nationally recognized professor of political science at Governors State University “put GSU on the map,” said Larry McClellan, longtime friend and colleague as a founding university faculty member. “His reputation was remarkable.”
Green, political analyst, educator and author, was remembered and recently celebrated at Flashback Fridays!, a series of monthly events hosted to spotlight GSU’s achievements and accomplishments as it marks its 50th anniversary in through 2020.
“Flashback Fridays has been critical to capturing the history of GSU for future generations,'' said Laura Mannion, one of the organizers. She noted that the university's Digital Learning and Media Design is recording the series, which will reside with the university’s archives for all to learn from and enjoy.
The evening discussion drew former research fellows, faculty, community members and family as they remembered Green’s legacy, recalling his quick wit, great ideas and remarkable accomplishments that “helped shape the institution,” McClellan said.
As the first director of GSU’s Institute for Public Policy, Green reached out across the state, engaging with politicians at every level and bringing them to speak at GSU. “He had so many contacts that he could bring important people here, so politics were a living experience for the students,” said Beverly Goldberg, former research assistant. “He also bussed in senior citizens for these discussions, so they were really lively. It was terrific.”
Elected supervisor of Monee Township, Green vastly improved training for township officials, an effort that brought the university statewide recognition. “It was one of the best things that could have happened to GSU because it put us on the map across Illinois. We were better known across the state than we were in the area,” said Billie Hauser, former research fellow.
Green was among those who supported the idea of having women play a larger role in government, teaching numerous housewives who returned to GSU to finish their degrees and headed out into the workplace, said his wife, Sharon Green.
“He really pushed women ahead in government,” she said. Among them was Janet Muchnik, longtime village manager for Park Forest. “By the time I became a city manager, I was the seventh one in Illinois,” she said. “It was really rare. But he thought it was a great career path.”
A prolific author, Green was published in “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “Time,” and “Newsweek.” He also covered 14 presidential conventions for WGN and the Star, the regional newspaper.
“He was ‘the guy,’” his wife recalled. “Anybody who wanted to know what was going on in Illinois politics or the Chicago mayoral races was told, ‘You’ve got to talk to Paul Green.’”
His political insight was sharp to the end. Green, who died just before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, foresaw the outcome that took so many other political pundits by surprise.
“He predicted that Trump would win the election,” his wife said. Billie Hauser nodded. “He knew,” she said. “He always knew.”
The next session—“Race and Diversity at GSU”—will explore the university’s commitment to racial diversity and inclusion when it was founded in 1969, as well as reflections on how it has advanced that mission.
The session is planned for Friday, Feb. 7. The entire Flashback Friday series will continue through June.
Please contact Laura Mannion at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.