Camila Fernandez/Assistant News Director
Five months short of his 90th birthday, professor emeritus Howard Kaminsky, has passed away.
Since 1972, Kaminsky played an important role in making FIU a four-year university, according to a memorandum by Provost Emeritus Douglas Wartzok.
Professor and chair of the History Department, Kaminsky held a unique perspective about history close to his heart.
According to Wartzok, he served in the U.S. Army in 1942 during World War II at 18 years old.
“[He] enlisted full of enthusiasm to defeat fascism abroad and then, as he often repeated, to establish a soviet in the United States.”
A communist, Kaminsky went to Czechoslovakia to live under its communist regime.
However, his political engagements to Marxism changed with his opposition to the Vietnam War and his political allegiance to President Reagan in the last 30 years, said Wartzok.
Also, he is a nationally distinguished medieval scholar who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and who was also a notable history professor at the University of Washington.
Apart from his contributions to the University and his country, Kaminsky also played an important part in the lives of his colleagues.
“He was one of my best friends,” said Darden Pyron, a history professor.
Pyron described him as fierce, willful, and confrontational.
“He led the fight to allow us to enroll freshmen and sophomores. That changed the entire nature of the University,” said Pyron.
Pyron said he spoke over 20 different languages, loved the ocean, and that he enjoyed being a part of FIU.
“He found a place…that was very congenial to him.”
The History Department will host a memorial service on Monday, Oct. 6, at 3:30 p.m., in the Green Library room 220.