Indiana University East is remembering the life and legacy of Professor Emeritus Paul Kriese, Ph.D., who passed away on Saturday, March 6, at Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond, Indiana.
The legacy Kriese established as part of the IU East campus community – and the larger Richmond and Wayne County community – is guided by his life-long passion for civic engagement, equality, justice, and support for the success of students.
Chancellor Kathy Girten remembered Kriese.
“The IU East community is deeply saddened to learn that Paul had passed away,” Girten said. “On his retirement, Paul once said his ‘bucket was full in large measure’ because of the experiences he had as part of IU East. Paul’s influence and impact on the campus and community will last for years to come.”
Kriese was a Professor Emeritus of Political Science. He began as an adjunct instructor in 1985. He continued teaching for over 30 years until his retirement and transition to professor emeritus in July 2015.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Kriese first came to Indiana in 1977 to attend Purdue University. He brought with him years of teaching experience as a middle school history teacher in New York, and higher education.
In 1985, he moved to Richmond to attend Earlham College. This move led to his connection with IU East. He soon joined the IU East faculty and remained on the faculty to advance from an adjunct instructor of political science to emeritus professor.
At the time, there was just one course in political science. Kriese eventually helped to develop the political science program at IU East. Today, the program offers a bachelor’s degree and a minor in political science, as well as online programs for a Graduate Certificate and a Master of Arts in Teaching Political Science. Later, he served as the chair for the program, and he was active on several campus committees. He initiated the American Democracy Project on campus. He was an advisor for the History and Political Science Club.
Kriese taught a variety of courses in the areas of democracy, political theory, comparative politics, and political violence. He was a leading expert in the areas of diversity issues, gender and sexism, hate, negative social behavior, nonviolent action, social justice, politics, and race. Kriese published numerous articles and books following his research in these areas, and he traveled as an expert speaker worldwide. He was the co-advising editor for The Journal of International Dialogue; A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs, a peer reviewed journal with editorial offices in the United States and Bosnia.
TJ Rivard, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, is both a colleague and friend.
“To describe the impact that Paul had on people and the community is almost impossible, because it was so deep and vast,” Rivard said. “Paul began teaching full-time at IU East in 1990, but he taught and was part of the community long before that. He saw everyone, including himself, as a student, and I can’t remember how many students who said to me while I was his dean with great respect in their eyes, ‘That man – he changed my life.'”
Rivard previously served as dean for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, directly overseeing the academic programs and faculty.
“He was the lone political scientist on campus for many years, but he was used to making himself heard,” Rivard said. “He fought hard in the Division of Behavioral & Social Sciences to have political science represented as a concentration in the Behavioral & Social Science Degree, and when I became the new dean, one of the first things he did was sit with me and advocate for the faculty and the students in his program, because it was a program that was small and vulnerable.”
Kriese built a legacy at IU East that extended beyond the classroom. A part of that legacy was the establishment of several scholarships at IU East in support of students.
In 2005, Kriese established the Florence and Richard Kriese Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents. In recognition of students’ service to community and citizenship, he created the Paul Kriese Scholarship for Service Engagement in 2014 and was an active supporter of the Honors Program. Then in 2017, he established the Paul Kriese Humanities and Social Sciences endowed fund.
Jason Troutwine, vice chancellor for External Affairs, said the scholarships Kriese helped to create speak to his life’s work in service, education and community.
“Paul’s generosity speaks to the very heart of his beliefs as a teacher and as a member of the community,” Troutwine said. “He selflessly gave in support of students in the hope that they would not only benefit from his generosity, but that his giving would help teach students the importance and value of service to others. Paul was always thinking about how he could lift up others – especially those from underserved populations.”
Locally, Kriese was a member of the NAACP, Townsend Center, the Democratic Party, and various organizations. He served as the Indiana state coordinator for former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. He chaired the Human Rights Commission in Richmond. At Richmond High School Kriese helped develop the first scholarship program for African American students.
Kriese received teaching awards as well as community honors. He joined the IU Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) in 2003. For his service and work in civil rights, Kriese was honored during the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at the Townsend Center.
“He deeply understood vulnerability, both personally and culturally, but he was never self-pitying,” Rivard said. “He used that understanding to give people the strength to lift themselves up. The last two books that he wrote exemplify his celebration of the strength and fragility of the human condition, particularly of the disenfranchised; he lets the voices of his subjects speak for themselves, while he becomes invisible. If you look carefully enough at many of the people that Paul knew – and he knew so very many – you will see him there in the background, cheering them on, fighting for their right to be, and letting them know that the only thing he wants is for them to be able to express themselves in a world of mutual respect.”
Kriese received his Bachelor of Arts in American Social History from Coe College in Iowa in 1967. Before moving to Indiana, Kriese was an eighth and ninth grade social studies and history teacher for the Buffalo New York School System in 1968. He earned his Master of Arts in American Social History from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1969.
He received his Master of Arts in Political Science from Kent State University in Ohio in 1972. While there, he taught political science for the university.
Then in 1977, Kriese attended Purdue University to earn his Ph.D. in Political Philosophy and Comparative Politics. While at Purdue, Kriese was a visiting instructor for political science and the instructor for the Center for Peaceful Change.
Kriese went on to complete his Master of Arts in Peace Studies with an emphasis on religion and politics from Earlham College in 1985.
Never wanting to call attention to himself, Kriese did not want a memorial service. In lieu of a service, family and friends are invited to share their memories of Kriese on his tribute page at https://www.iue.edu/tribute/.