Moskos remembered in tribute ceremony

Lauren Mogannam

Laughter and memories permeated the tribute to former sociology Prof. Charles Moskos at Alice Millar Chapel on Thursday night.

About 100 people gathered to remember the life and work of the late and beloved professor, who died of cancer May 31.

“It was absolutely beautiful,” said Mary Pattillo, sociology department chairwoman. “I think it was just as Charlie would have wanted. There was laughter, smartness, wit and love in all that was said.”

The service consisted of stories and anecdotes about Moskos. The audience heard from several speakers about Moskos’ love for food, including the Greek food spanakopita, one of his favorites. The speakers also retold Moskos’ favorite quips, including his constant reminders that he didn’t want to be known as a doctor.

“Don’t call me a doctor,” Moskos would say, according to those in attendance. “A doctor can tell you, ‘Undress.’ And you do it. And believe me, I’ve tried.”

Moskos was best known nationally as the author of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a controversial policy designed to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces. Most Northwestern students, though, best remember Moskos for his large Introduction to Sociology lectures every Fall Quarter. He taught at NU for nearly 40 years.

Most of the audience consisted of family, friends, colleagues and former students. Dr. Jack Nusan Porter, a former student, said he came from Boston to remember the man who had a great impact on his life.

“I was one of his first graduate students,” the ’67 graduate said. “I was very moved, and I’m glad I flew in. There are only a few professors I would have come in for, Moskos being one of them.”

Along with remembering the Moskos legacy, University President Henry Bienen announced the establishment of a permanent Moskos Chair and a $100,000 endowment “in memory of Moskos for undergraduate research.”

The undergraduate research fund is designed for students interested in sociological research, particularly involving the military, Moskos’ main area of study and research. Moskos’ family said they were pleased by NU’s tribute.

“It is better than a building,” said Peter Moskos, son of the late professor.

His legacy will live on with the students who knew him, said Peter Moskos, an assistant professor of law and police science at the City University of New York.

“He would be charmed at the outpouring,” he said. “At somber moments he would have poked me because he wasn’t a somber guy, but he would have been very touched.”

Ilca Moskos said her husband enjoyed his long tenure at NU, saying the school was a perfect fit for him.

“He couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else,” his widow said. “Northwestern was home for him. There was no other place he would have rather been.”

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