Profiles in Giving Back: Dr. Sheldon Goldman

goldmanIn 1961, with an acceptance to Harvard’s graduate program in political science and a goal of becoming a teacher, Sheldon Goldman had to decide between a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and teaching fellowships at other institutions.

“I certainly could not have afforded attending graduate school on my own,” says Dr. Goldman. “A straight-out fellowship of this sort…was just wonderful and made graduate school possible for me.”

After completing the first few years of his Ph.D. program, Dr. Goldman was encouraged to apply for a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship by the chair of his department.

“The Woodrow Wilson Foundation Dissertation Fellowships turned out to be absolutely instrumental in my being able to finish up my dissertation and get my degree in four years,” says Dr. Goldman.

With support from the Foundation, Dr. Goldman was able to travel around the country interviewing federal court of appeal judges. His dissertation explored the backgrounds, selection process, and decisional behaviors of appellate judges appointed between 1961 and 1964. His dissertation laid the foundation for his life’s work, he is now considered one of the leading experts on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation. Dr. Goldman began teaching at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall of 1965. He was named a Distinguished Professor in 2012. In 2006 Dr. Goldman received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.

“I think the aim and objective of the Foundation to encourage and to provide the funds for people to go into teaching is very laudable and very commendable,” says Dr. Goldman. Has been a loyal donor to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation since the late 1980s.


This story appeared in the fall/winter 2016 issue of Fellowship, the newsletter of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. To see the full newsletter, click here.


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