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Political Giant, Tufts Graduate Dies

Political Giant, Tufts Graduate DiesFormer New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan – who held three degrees from Tufts – passed away Wednesday at age 76. Washington.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.27.03] The nation lost a political giant on Wednesday, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan - a four-term senator from New York and senior official in four administrations - passed away at age 76. The Tufts graduate, who earned three degrees from the University, was considered by many to be the leading scholar-politician of his time.

› E-News: Moynihan -- A National Treasure [ read ]
› E-News: A Tribute To Senator Moynihan [ read ]
› E-News: Senator Moynihan Honors Tufts [ read ]

"Rarely has a man changed society with his ideas," Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said in a eulogy he delivered on the Senate floor. "The idea that one man can change a society for the better - Senator Moynihan's life is a testament to that. ... He was truly a giant, giant as a thinker, giant as a senator, and giant as a human being."

Moynihan died of complications from a ruptured appendix. He underwent an emergency appendectomy on March 11 and developed an infection.

"The whole Senate loved and respected Pat," Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said in a statement. "Whether serving in the Navy or as a professor, ambassador, or senator, Pat brought out the best in everyone he touched."

During his 24-year career in the Senate, Moynihan was a leader on welfare issues, transportation, Social Security and foreign policy.

"Rising from the depths of Hell's Kitchen in New York, he became one of America's true leading intellectuals, whose foresight and whose ability brought to public attention a mass of critical issues long before others even realized these issues existed," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).

In 1999, Moynihan announced that he would not seek a fifth term. The next year, the Tufts graduate -- who holds an undergraduate degree and two degrees from Tufts' Fletcher School -- was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

"At the end of his final news conference as a senator in 2000, Moynihan bade reporters goodbye," reported Newsday. "'On that note, class is concluded,' said the former college professor and professorial politician. It could serve as his epitaph. Those who learned at his knee for more than a half-century lamented his death yesterday and noted that there will be no more lessons from the man who could expound on everything from Mexican trade to the origins of Social Security to the beauty of magnetic levitated trains."

Moynihan will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The family has requested that no flowers be sent and that donations in memory of Moynihan be directed to Washington Hospital Center Foundation, c/o Surgical Critical Fund, East Building, Room 1001, Irving St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20010.

Photos courtesy AP.

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