Tufts mourns UEP Professor Sheldon Krimsky

Sheldon Krimsky, the Lenore Stern professor of humanities and social sciences in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. James Glaser, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, informed the Tufts community of Krimsky’s passing in an April 25 email.

“​​Dr. Krimsky, or ‘Shelly’ to his friends, was a longtime member of the Tufts community,” Glaser wrote. “Fiercely loyal, kind, and supportive to family and friends, he was thoroughly devoted to teaching and to his students.”

Krimsky, who was 80 years old, was a professor in the UEP department for 47 years, beginning in 1974. He published 17 books and over 235 articles that dealt with the intersections of science, technology and ethics. He also served as a member of the National Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health, as chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.

Glaser shared that outside his scholarship, Krimsky “played guitar and harmonica, sometimes jamming with friends and writing and improvising songs.”

In lieu of flowers, Krimsky’s family has asked that community members donate to the newly-established Sheldon Krimsky Fund for Environmental Ethics and Values and share memories of Krimsky on a memorial website. The family will also organize a celebration of his life, to be held on campus later this spring. The university will share more details on the fund and celebration soon, according to Glaser.

Krimsky’s passing marks the third loss of a Tufts community member in the past month. Margaret Rose Vendryes, incoming SMFA dean, and Danielle Abrams, professor of the practice in the performance department at the SMFA, each passed away unexpectedly earlier in April.

According to Glaser’s email, students in need of immediate support can contact the counselor-on-call or the dean-on-call via the Tufts 24/7 Help Line at 617-627-3400. The University Chaplaincy, Counseling and Mental Health Services, the Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion, the International Center and the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs are also available as resources for students who are struggling. Students can also call the Ears for Peers confidential, anonymous hotline at 617-627-3888.


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