Passing of Steve Boyan, Political Science

From Devin Hagerty, Professor and Chair, Political Science

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Ara Stephen (“Steve”) Boyan, Jr., associate professor emeritus of political science, who died in Burlington, Vermont on November 7, following a long illness. His family, friends and colleagues remember him fondly as a husband and father, scholar and teacher, leader and activist, outdoorsman and friend.

Steve was born to Ara and Deil Boyan in Tenafly, New Jersey on April 18, 1938. After graduating from Rutherford High School in 1955, he received an A.B. from Brown University in 1959 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1966, both in political science. He taught at Pennsylvania State University for four years, then in 1971 joined the faculty of UMBC, where he taught constitutional law and environmental ethics to a generation of students. Steve chaired the Department of Political Science from 1995 to 1997 and served as president of the Faculty Senate from 1989 to 1991. He edited the six-volume work, “Constitutional Aspects of Watergate” and co-authored a book entitled “Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity Revisited.”

Steve was a leader in the ethical culture movement for more than 20 years, organizing the Earth Ethics project and a whistleblower support project at the Washington Ethical Society. A proud liberal, he attended Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” rally and the first Earth Day. He sat on the Maryland and national boards of the American Civil Liberties Union, was active in Legicuum, a Unitarian-sponsored clean-government group in Maryland, and participated in numerous political campaigns for Democrats at every level of government. In his 50’s, citing both health and environmental reasons, Steve became a committed vegetarian and lectured widely about the adverse consequences of factory-farmed meat.

He retired from UMBC in 2002 and moved with his wife, Kitty, to Burlington, to enjoy his passions for skiing, tennis and hiking. In addition to his wife of 45 years, Steve is survived by his loving son and daughter-in-law, Justin and Amy, and granddaughters Ella and Carmen, of Providence, Rhode Island.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 28, at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 152 Pearl Street in Burlington, Vermont. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sierra Club Foundation (

Letters of condolence may be sent to the family in care of Kitty Boyan, 4 S. Cove Road, Burlington, VT 05401-5440.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s