Michael Marrus, whom I have known as chair of the Academic Board and as Dean of the Graduate School, exemplifies my idea of a member of the academy, in both his scholarly and administrative roles. An academy is a community of scholars that agrees that their primary mission is the search for truth. But the academy also disagrees on many issues. It is important that these disagreements be fundamentally intellectual rather than merely political. Such disagreements are argued out, and the issues are clarified by discussion; compromise may be the ultimate end, but should not obscure the primary discussion.
Michael chaired the Academic Board with fairness and integrity. He was always appropriately neutral in matters of content, but he was firm on matters of form. To cite just one instance: at a time when various interest group strove to disrupt debate, shouting down speakers, Michael did not hesitate to impose his views concerning the form, though not the content, of the debate. And, as we know, he had one of the prerequisites for maintaining order: a stentorian loud voice.
There was only one occasion when I saw Michael discomfited. A requirement at the Academic Board is that members stand up when wishing to speak. Once, a diminutive former dean who was seated at the back of the hall, rose to speak. Michael recognized the voice, and so barely glanced up at the speaker, and then requested her to stand. "I am standing", she replied, to general laughter and Michael's great embarrassment. From then on he seemed to make it a practice to look carefully at each speaker, before deciding whether they were standing or not.
Michael's scholarly renown and influence on public opinion (on such issues as the Holocaust) are widely known. In addition, from personal experience I can attest he is a person to whom one can turn to as a disinterested critic to sound out ideas. Despite the great demands on his time from his scholarly and administrative duties, he always has time for his colleagues, and will give a measured opinion to guide one through dilemmas. I, and many others in the university, have been privileged to benefit from his guidance.