April 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

University Mourns Dr. Patricia Weitsman, Political Science Professor

Dr. Patricia Weitsman, Professor of Political Science and Director of War and Peace Studies at Ohio University, passed away this week. She was a highly respected scholar, enthusiastic gym instructor and loving parent, wife, daughter and sister.

Dr. Patricia Weitsman

Dr. Patricia Weitsman

“It was a great gift to able to spend nearly two decades as Patricia’s colleague,” said Dr. John Gilliom, Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Political Science. “She set  new standards for excellence in every dimension of her professional life and was, to the end, a model of courage and determination.”

“Patty was a real force of nature. From our first meeting about the War and Peace program, it was obvious that she had a grand vision, enormous energy and a plan for success. I was sold in an instant. I am so grateful that we had an opportunity to work together,” said Dr. Robert A. Frank, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Weitsman was diagnosed in 2010 with myelodysplastic syndrome for which she received a bone marrow transplant in 2011. The disease returned as Leukemia in 2013.

“Right before I started my stint at OU (and right after she had received the news that the disease was back), in an email exchange Patty wrote, ‘So I might keep you waiting a semester, we’ll knock this disease out for good this time. Nonnegotiable!’ I still find it amazing that even with all the difficulties she had been through, she was able to answer all calls, emails and conversations in a couple of hours at most, and keep supporting her students and colleagues,” said Dr. Nukhet Sandal, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of War and Peace Studies.

“Although we knew the seriousness of the situation, we all thought Patty would defeat this like she did last time. In every single one of our meetings at her home (the last one was just a couple of weeks ago), we made plans for the future, what we would do when she comes back and especially how we would extend War and Peace Studies, which has been very important to her. Now our priority is to live up to her legacy, and make sure that everything goes in a way she had envisioned,” adds Sandal.

Weitsman’s areas of research and specialization were in international relations, with an emphasis on international security and international relations theory. She held fellowships at Columbia University, the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, and the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Weitsman completed her undergraduate work at Indiana University and then earned an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York. She earned numerous research and teaching awards including the College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award and University Professor award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In 2008, she received the Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award and was the Ohio University Graduate Commencement Speaker in 2009.

She contributed to the field with valuable published works including books such as Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War (Stanford University Press, 2004), and Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence (Stanford University Press, 2014). In 2010, she created a new interdisciplinary War and Peace Studies major and certificate program as well as a graduate certificate program under the auspices of the Center for International Studies. She became Director of War and Peace Studies in the summer of 2012.

Weitsman was nominated and elected to the governing board of the International Security Studies Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) in 2006. In 2009, she was selected as Vice Chair and Chair Elect of the section. She served as Chair of ISSS from 2011-2013. The International Security Studies Section of ISA has nearly 1,400 members and is the largest section of the organization and the largest organization of security studies scholars in the world.

Weitsman also served as a fitness instructor at the Fox Family YMCA in Lancaster, where she and her family were awarded the Y’s Family Members of the Year in 2011 for service to the organization. In spring 2012, she received the Character Development Award from the Y for her journey from peak condition to bone marrow transplant patient back to fitness instructor.

She is survived by her husband David Hoffmann, children Sarah (12) and Jonah (10) Hoffmann-Weitsman, mother Judith Goldstein Evans, father and step-mother Allen Weitsman and Wei Cui, sisters Stacy Robin Weitsman Young, Susan Huter, and Deborah Ogawa.

A memorial service will be held at Alley Park Nature Center (2805 Old Logan Road, Lancaster, OH) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6.

In lieu of flowers the Hoffmann-Weitsman family and Ohio University Foundation will be accepting gifts in memory of Patricia. Gifts to The Patricia A. Weitsman Memorial Scholarship will provide funds to students majoring in War and Peace Studies at Ohio University.

To make a gift in memory of Patricia, please visit and note in the online form that the gift is in memory of Dr. Patricia Weitsman and request that funds be designated to The Patricia A. Weitsman Memorial Scholarship, or call 740-593-0732 to make a gift via phone.


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