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Remembering Outstanding Alumnus Dan Sage

Beloved "triple Duck" Dan Sage, who was honored by the College of Education with the 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award, passed away January 12, 2014 in Syracuse, NY at the age of 86.

At his award ceremony, COE alumna Deb Egan provided a short biography that read, in part:

"Dan earned his doctoral degree in the college in 1965, his master’s degree in education in 1955, and a bachelor’s degree in the UO Department of Psychology in 1949. During the length and breadth of the impressively productive career that followed, Dan Sage fulfilled the College of Education mission of "making social and educational systems work for all" through his lifelong dedication as a teacher, researcher, and social justice activist.

His contributions to the development of administrative preparation programs in special education are renowned, from being among the first to identify the need for integrated systems of administration and educational leadership, to articulating the political, ethical, and fiscal measures necessary to achieve just and responsible education for all individuals in society.

Dr. Sage is credited with having produced some of the most frequently adopted and referenced scholarly literature addressing general and special education leadership, which set the foundation for today’s practices of inclusion and RTI—Response to Intervention—and not only shaped research and practice for a significant number of professionals, he has influenced the foundations of philosophy, law, and practice of special education and the service of individuals with disabilities.

Dr. Sage dedicated himself as a professor of special education at Syracuse University for thirty years. His peers and colleagues take collective pride in the number of successful doctoral candidates he has mentored to distinction in the fields of special education and educational leadership, both during his tenure and beyond.

Even in retirement from work in an academic context, he continued to dedicate himself to issues of social justice. In November 1997, he took part in a protest, with his wife, Doris, and 2,000 others, at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, to protest the training of scores of Latin American officers later linked to death squads in their countries. About 600 people were arrested at that protest for trespassing on the school campus, and soon after, the Sages were sentenced to six months in prison and fined $3,000 for their participation in the protests."

Linda Lewis, formerly an education program specialist for Research and Outreach at the COE, said of Dan's passing, "It is gratifying to see how meaningful his being named the UO/COE Outstanding Alum was to his family and friends, and hopefully to him. It is hard to overstate his influence on a generation of professionals throughout the country and abroad in schools, universities, state education and mental agencies, etc. who spearheaded federal, state and local policies and reforms that lead to deinstitutionalization of individuals with disabilities and their inclusion in our schools and communities."

Douglas Bilken, dean of the school of education at Syracuse University, said, "Over my own 40 years as a professor and university administrator, I have kept in touch with many of our graduates. I never cease to be amazed at the fact that those I have kept in touch with most often are graduates of Dan’s remarkable program. He attracted great students and gave them training that somehow instilled in them confidence that they could each become a leader. He was an exceptional faculty member and colleague."

A memorial service for Sage was held Feb. 8 in Syracuse. He is survived by Doris, his wife of 66 years; son, Michael (Clifton Hill) of Los Angeles; son, Douglas (Kathy) of Maryland; grandchildren, Daniel, Kate, and Ali; and numerous nieces and nephews.


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