Rudolph H. Weingartner, former provost and chair of the Department of Philosophy, died Nov. 16, 2020 at 93.
“By any estimation,” said Provost Ann Cudd, “Rudy Weingartner was a true Renaissance man and humanist. His work and his life are inspiring. I understand that, in 1988, he began the Provost's Inaugural Lecture Series, which remains a significant way to share and honor the deep expertise and innovation of our faculty today. We are so grateful for his vision."
Weingartner spoke frankly through the years, via memoirs and in interviews, about his frustrations with his 18 months as provost (1987-1989) and his disagreements with Pitt leaders at the time about the balance of power between academic and administrative leaders concerning budgets, research funding and other priorities. When he resigned, he remained a professor and chair of the philosophy department in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences before retiring in 1994 as an emeritus professor.
Born on Feb. 12, 1927, in Heidelberg, at 12 he fled with his family from Germany to New York City. A Navy veteran, he served in the Pacific and then attended Columbia University beginning in 1947, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in philosophy there.
He married Fannia Goldberg-Rudkowski in 1952 and began his academic career in the philosophy department at San Francisco State College, chairing the department there and then at Vassar College. He also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University for 13 years, where he created a still-thriving writing program, before joining Pitt — first as a member of the Pitt Faculty of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, then as provost.
Weingartner wrote two books on philosophy (“Experience and Culture: The Philosophy of Georg Simmel” and “The Unity of the Platonic Dialogue: The Cratylus, The Protagoruas, the Parmenides”) and a trio of books about higher education (“Fitting Form to Function: A Primer on the Organization of Academic Institutions”; “Undergraduate Education: Goals and Means” and “The Moral Dimensions of Academic Administration”). He also published a personal memoir (“Mostly About Me: A Path Through Different Worlds”) and one focused on his career (“A Sixty-Year Ride through the World of Education”).
He also served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Weingartner was married to Fannia for 42 years until her death, then in 1997 married Gissa Hamburger until their separation in 2012. He is survived by children Mark H. Weingartner and Eleanor Weingartner Salazar, and by grandchildren Daniel Max Salazar and Eva Fannia Salazar.