In Memory of Dr. Susan Haas

It was a shock to her family, especially her two children Francis and Olivia, and to the whole Annenberg community when Susan Haas, a lecturer at the Annenberg School and at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice, passed away suddenly  after suffering a heart attack. She was 63.

Haas had a deep capacity for friendship and generosity, and the long, thoughtful conversations she enjoyed with people left lasting impressions. She was a constant force for good in her academic and neighborhood communities.

To complete her dissertation, “Communities of Journalists and Journalism Practice at Radio Free Europe during the Cold War (1950-1995),” Haas traveled around Europe conducting and recording interviews with more than 70 journalists who worked at Radio Free Europe at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. She also located and included unpublished corporate archives, personal correspondence, and reflections by informants on the front lines of the embattled news organization.

“It is a brilliant study of the internal news life of Radio Free Europe, and the only history of its kind that has been done,” says Haas’s dissertation supervisor, Emeritus Professor Carolyn Marvin.

Her classmates and co-workers repeatedly echo that Haas was a kind-hearted, generous person as well as deeply committed to the cause of social justice, and in particular, to the underdog in any fight.

“She loved her students more than anything,” says Olivia, her daughter. “After my brother and I were out the door and on our own paths, she put everything into her students.”

“Dr. H was not only my advisor, she was also my mentor and friend,” shared one of her students, C’19. “Throughout my time at Penn, there were countless nights she stayed up helping make my work the best it could be, long hours she spent helping me navigate my experience at college, and dozens of letters of recommendation she wrote for me. She gave 100% to every student and I know she genuinely cared.”

Her full obituary can be read here: 

Donations will go directly to Susan's two children to cover expenses associated with settling her estate. Any excess funds raised will be used by them to archive her dissertation interviews in the hopes that it will be studied by future scholars.


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Olivia Haas 
Philadelphia, PA
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