This spring, Professor Ronald Rapoport will be retiring after 43 years of teaching at the College. In his four decades at William & Mary, Professor Rapoport published three books, wrote numerous articles, won several national awards, and taught thousands of students.
Having served in the Department so long, Professor Rapoport is a staple for both students and faculty. Professor Jaime Settle remembered fondly how Rapoport chaired the search committee that hired her, introduced her to one of his favorite students at an event, and then became her “biggest cheerleader.” She said, “It is hard to put into words the magnitude of the impact that Ron has had on department culture, collegiality, and energy. He epitomizes what makes W&M such a wonderful place to be: creativity, quirk, and intellectual curiosity. Ron is a visionary and inspires all of us to think big in order to facilitate amazing opportunities for our students. Ron has been, and will continue to be, a wonderful mentor and friend.”
Recognized nationally for his pioneering research on party activists, third parties, and the modern-day Tea Party, Rapoport is known at William & Mary for his classes on political polling analysis and for his willingness to get to know students inside and outside the classroom. Students describe him as “lovable,” “funny,” and “an interesting lecturer.” Former student Zach Manley ’17 said, “I loved learning from Professor Rapoport because of the boundless enthusiasm he brought to class and the warmth and compassion he showed to his students.”
Rapoport is also known for his investment in students’ lives. Former Chair Professor John McGlennon, who started at William and Mary at the same time as Rapoport, said, “Ron is remembered by lots of students and faculty for his signature laugh, but more importantly, he has been a devoted mentor to so many of our graduates. No one would do more to help a student get started on a career, get into a great graduate school, or deal with a problem than Ron.”
Over the coming months, the Government Department will be celebrating Professor Rapoport’s retirement. He is one of the longest serving Government professors ever and will be greatly missed. Stay tuned for events related to his retirement!