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Bill Shapiro: Soul of a Teacher

Bill Shapiro has had an important impact on Oxford students for more than thirty years. Says Katie Vigilante, his former student who now also teaches political science at Oxford, "He is a natural at getting students to think harder."

Bill Shapiro, professor of political science, joined Oxford College in 1979. In the years since, he has had a profound influence on numerous Oxford students. Shapiro received an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. At Oxford he has been recognized for his excellence in teaching with the Emory Williams Award, the Mizell Award, and the Fleming Award.

How did you get from Brooklyn to Oxford?

The journey didn’t really start in Brooklyn. It started in Toulouse, France, where I was born. My parents were from Vienna, but they were in France when World War II broke out. How they spent the war and the years immediately after is a story in itself, but they brought me to New York as an infant, and I grew up in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood.

I was working for the American Enterprise Institute in 1979 and was being considered for a job in the office of Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan, but I saw the opening at Oxford and applied. Dean Moncrief brought me down for an interview, and I’ve been here ever since.

Read more from the Q&A in Emory Magazine »

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