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Memorial Week: Michael Quinn Patton on Remembering and Honoring Evaluation’s Pioneers

AEA365 Curator note: Today, along with the next two Saturdays will be part of a very special  two-week series. 


My name is Michael Quinn Patton of Utilization-Focused Evaluation and former AEA president. In conjunction with Memorial Day in the USA (May 30) I am coordinating and editing two weeks of AEA365 contributions from distinguished evaluation colleagues remembering and honoring select evaluation pioneers who made enduring contributions to the emergence of our field: Marcia Guttentag by Sara Miller McCune; Donald Campbell by Mel Mark; Asa Hilliard III by Rodney Hopson; Egon Guba by Jennifer Greene; Peter Rossi by Mark Lipsey; Barry MacDonald by Ernie House; Kathy Bolland by Sharon Rallis; Robert Ingle by Jean King; Carol Weiss by Sharon Rallis, Will Shadish by Laura Leviton; Lee Sechrest by Eleanor Chelimsky; and Paul Lazarsfeld, and Alva and Gunnar Myrdal by Charmagne Campbell-Patton.

Pioneering and enduring contributions:

In response to accolades for his scientific breakthroughs, physicist Isaac Newton said in 1676: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We do, indeed, stand on the shoulders of evaluation giants and so for the next two weeks we will pause to acknowledge our debt and gratitude to those no longer with us.

We invite you to add to the In Memoriam list. If you wish to recognize someone who has contributed to evaluation, here is the format to follow (in 75 words or less): (1) your name and identifier (2) the name (with birth and death years) and contribution of the person you are remembering; and (3) a resource and/or link to that person’s evaluation contribution, if available.

Send your remembrance by May 31 to:

Here is an example:

Remembering and Honoring Brenda Zimmerman

My name is Michael Quinn Patton, author of Developmental Evaluation, and I wish to honor Brenda Zimmerman (1956-2014), my co-author with Frances Westley of Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed. Brenda pioneered in translating and applying complexity concepts for social innovators and evaluators of social innovation.

Resource: A Gedenkschrift to honour Brenda Zimmerman.

Remembering and Honoring Our Evaluation Sasha:

As context for this In Memoriam series over the next two weeks, I invite you to consider and contemplate this: Many African cultures distinguish the recent-dead, the sasha, from the long-dead, the zamani. “The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalised ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. But they are not the living-dead. There is a difference.”  — Historian James W. Loewen

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Memorial Week in Evaluation: Remembering and Honoring Evaluation’s Pioneers. The contributions this week are remembrances of evaluation pioneers who made enduring contributions to our field. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


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  • Jane Davidson · May 23, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Michael – I absolutely *love* the distinction between the sasha and the zamani. One of those wonderful instances where a meaningful distinction is clearly understood in one language and culture but simply isn’t on the radar in another due to the lack of words to describe it. Language is so much more than a translation of thoughts; it is a journey into another way of understanding the world. What a great planet we live on! Here’s to the blue marble evaluators, and the ethereal blue marbles than live among them.



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