Martha Derthick of Charlottesville died Jan. 12, 2015. The Julia Allen Cooper Professor Emeritus in Government and Foreign Affairs, Ms. Derthick was a leading expert on Social Security and other public policy matters. She was a political scientist who taught and researched at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, Harvard University and Boston College before arriving at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. There, she served as director of the governmental studies program in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
She later taught and researched for more than 15 years at the University, retiring in 1999. Ms. Derthick wrote and edited books and articles on a range of government and policy issues, among them Policymaking for Social Security (1979), The Politics of Deregulation (1985), and Up in Smoke: From Legislation to Litigation in Tobacco Politics (2002). In addition to her teaching and research, she served on the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, also known as the Scranton Commission, convened after the protests and shootings at Kent State University in 1970. She received numerous professional honors, including a book award established in her name by the American Political Science Association.