For more than half a century, he was a fixture at Pace University, but this fall, Sherman Raskin—a beloved professor, mentor, and director of the publishing program at Pace University—will be bidding Pace adieu.
Raskin began his career at Pace in 1963, and from the moment he set foot on campus, he left an indelible mark on the Pace community. From lectures, to building a publishing program from the ground up, to forging partnerships in China and Brazil, Raskin not only had a way with words but had a way of making things happen.
Before joining Pace, Raskin earned a bachelor of fine arts in dramatic arts and a master of arts in English from Columbia University. In five years at Pace, he became assistant chair of the English department at the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held for a decade. In 1978, he became English department chair. As the university grew, so did its programs, many of which Raskin and his colleagues helped spearhead.
“In 1984, we decided to make publishing more than an accidental profession, and I developed that program with a number of very unique people in the publishing industry,” Raskin recalls. He and professor Allan Rabinowitz launched the Master of Science in Publishing program.
Since that time, the publishing industry has gone through many changes, including the onset of the digital age. Raskin ensured that the publishing program evolved as the industry changed. He helped hire top-tier faculty and worked tirelessly to raise money for scholarships to support worthy students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in publishing.
Raskin also ran a successful lecture series for more than 20 years: the Dyson Lectures in the Humanities. He persuaded celebrities and trailblazers such as Edward Albee, Charles Scribner Jr., Gloria Steinem, Stanley Tucci, and Sam Waterston to speak to students and faculty.
In 1990, Raskin launched the Pace University Press, which publishes academic journals and books that help nurture the prestige of the university. He called it a labor of love.
If the saying that behind every great man is a woman is true, then perhaps behind Raskin are two wonderful women: his beloved wife, Paula Raskin, and his Pace colleague Barbara Egidi. “My wife has been very supportive,” Raskin says. “In China, we had many meetings and dinners, and one gentlemen turned to me and said, ‘I know you’re the boss, but I know who your boss is.’ She’s the CEO and the CFO. CEOs not only want to see me; they also want to see my wife. She has been very instrumental in all my relationships.”
As for the other woman in Raskin’s life, Egidi is program manager at Pace University and worked with him for 51 years. “He always allowed me to grow and develop at Pace, and for that I will always be grateful,” she says. “Sherman gave 200% of himself to Pace for the past 55 years, and it is nice to see him step back and take some time now for himself and his family. With students, he always gave them opportunity—whether it be scholarship monies when they could not afford to attend Pace, or by admitting them into our program provisionally when they did not meet the minimum 3.0 GPA to be admitted fully matriculated.”
Egidi will be there to guide Raskin’s successor, Manuela Soares, this fall. Though Raskin will be sorely missed, his legacy lives on in all the students he has helped, and in all the programs he helped launch.
In retirement, Raskin plans to spend more time with his family in San Francisco as well as at his residence in Upstate New York. A lifelong theater fan, he also plans to travel to London to see more shows there. “I had my reservations,” he says. “I had mixed feelings. After 55 years, I think my children are happy that I am retiring, and I am looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren.”
Despite leaving Pace, Raskin will serve on the advisory board of the publishing program and on the board of the Confucius Institute at Pace University. He also will continue to serve on the board for the Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai.
Barin Masoud works for Pace University’s media relations office. Prior to that she was a staff newsgathering producer for BBC News in New York and a news assistant at NY1 News.