Remembering Hubert Locke, Sage of Justice as Fairness

locke

Hubert Locke

My friend Professor Hubert Locke died this week. He was more than a friend. Hubert was the sage who guided many of us through the thickets of morality and policy. Hubert look deeply into the systems of inequality and hierarchy and evil. He was exacting in words and teaching, and he demanded from each of us, his students, his colleagues, his compatriots, that each of us go beyond ourselves.

I met Hubert when I was a student at the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Washington. He was a wonderful, inquiring, and demanding teacher. Hubert expected that each of us would push our way through the American social philosopher John Rawls’s theory of “justice as fairness.” Hubert created a classroom with ethically demanding and intellectually difficult conversations.

Hubert was an unfailingly polite man who would not suffer fools. He demanded academic excellence. He studied and thought deeply about the Holocaust and wrote extensively on the relationships of Christian churches with the Nazi government in Germany.

Hubert came from a modest background. His dad was an autoworker and his mom was a housewife. He brought this context of his early life in considering economic progress and decline, racial progress and antagonism, and academic well-being and strife. He left academia to become a civil rights leader in Detroit. He came to the University of Washington in the mid-1970s and became dean of the school of public administration. He was a scholar and an activist, a mentor and a leader, and an administrator and an advocate. He embodied and built a conscience and presence for racial equity, social justice, and academic excellence.

Hubert was a man who devoted his personal life to community service, while working and while in retirement. He lived the life of a citizen, from his early years right up until his death. He was a mentor for all of us, as we breathe life and vibrancy into the life of our city, our state, and our country.

Thank you, Hubert. We will miss you dearly. And we will never forget.

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