The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


Remembering Paul Naish

Roman Catholic Funeral Mass for Paul Dana Naish

Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 1:00pm

Reception to follow downstairs

Our Lady of the Rosary Church (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine)

7 State Street  (across from South Ferry Terminal)

New York, NY 10004


From Alumna Gwynneth Malin :

Some history alumni have arranged for donations to the History department of the CUNY Graduate Center (GC) to be made in Paul’s name.  The funds would be earmarked for a research and travel grant for a doctoral student in the History department, for which students would apply.  The selected student would be awarded the funds to be used over the summer months for research.  Our aim is to raise $4,000 for this one grant, which we plan to call The Paul D. Naish Travel and Research Grant.  Please join us in this effort to remember Paul, an avid researcher and a dedicated scholar, and to assist graduate student research at the institution he cherished and believed in.  Any amount is welcome.

Checks should be made payable to: The Graduate Center Foundation.  This is very important as it insures that the funds are received by the 501-c3 connected to the GC.

Please write “in honor of Paul D. Naish” in the memo section of the check.  This is very important as it insures that the funds will be delivered to the right fund.

Please include your name and address and the GC will issue you a receipt of the gift which you can use for tax purposes.

Please send donations to:

The Graduate Center Foundation

365 Fifth Avenue, Room 8204

New York, NY 10016

Thank you.



A beautiful tribute from Paul’s advisor, Professor Jim Oakes:

Paul was the first student whose dissertation I supervised here at the Graduate Center, and he set a high bar—both personally and intellectually—for all those who came after him. It seems almost incidental to say that Paul was a delight to have sitting in a seminar, but it still must be said that he was an exemplary student.  The best students always come to class prepared and ready to contribute, but I can’t recall anyone who read history with a more open mind, with more genuine curiosity, or who so appreciated the sheer joy of intellectual life.  Paul was a literate and cultivated man, but he wore his cultivation lightly, without a flicker of pretension.

For those who have not encountered the joy of Paul’s writing, his forthcoming book will come as a pleasure.  He wrote gorgeous sentences, fluid paragraphs, and dazzling chapters.  He found source material where none of us though to look, and drew insights that none of us had ever imagined.

He loved to teach and he loved his students, and he developed a powerful sense of obligation to the kind of students who filled his classes at Guttman.  When the temporary position became permanent, after so many years of uncertainty, Paul was thrilled almost beyond words.  I say almost because he kept me abreast of his prospects with a steady stream of optimistic emails that masked whatever demoralization he must have felt after so many near misses and disappointments.

But more than his qualities as a scholar and a teacher, what most stood out in Paul was his kind and gentle soul.  He was not naïve about the brutality of academic politics, and he knew nonsense when he saw it–all it took was a roll of his eyes to let you know that he was onto it.  But he never cut anybody down.  He looked for the best in people and was better than anyone at finding it.  He was funny, but never cynical.  He loved to laugh, but his humor was never hurtful.

I will never stop being proud to say that Paul Naish was my student.  He was a distinguished scholar, an outstanding teacher, and a beautiful human being, and I will miss him terribly.