Biography: Professor Victoria Schuck

Image of Victoria Schuck

Victoria Schuck

Professor, Mount Holyoke College
1940–1976

Victoria Schuck was born on March 16, 1909 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Anthony B. and Anna Prieb Schuck. She grew up in San Marino, California and received her B.A. (1930), M.A. (1931) and Ph.D. (1937) from Stanford University. She was an assistant professor at Florida State College for Women from 1937-1940, and then became a member of the Mount Holyoke College Political Science Department. During and after World War II she also worked for two federal agencies: the Office of Price Administration, where she was the Principal Program Analyst from 1942-1944 and the Office of Temporary Controls, where she served as a consultant from 1945-1947. She was a visiting lecturer at Smith College (1948-1949), a visiting professor at Stanford University (1952), and a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institute (1967-1968).

Schuck was an innovative teacher of courses in American government, urban planning, and the administration of public policy. In 1949, she initiated a Washington Internship Program to provide Mount Holyoke students with an opportunity to work in Washington, D.C. as summer assistants to members of congress, senators, and administrators of federal agencies. This program was the first of its kind and it served as a model for similar internships at other schools. In 1954, she was instrumental in establishing a Political Studies Center to encourage students at Amherst College and Mount Holyoke to become involved in politics through interaction with residents of local communities. She invited many national, state, and local politicians to speak at Mount Holyoke, including United States presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and Hubert H. Humphrey and Massachusetts senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy.

Former interns reflect on Schuck’s legacy

Schuck served on several Mount Holyoke Committees, including the Lecture Committee (1948-1974), the Honors Committee (1960-1962), and the committee that planned special events held during the College's one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary celebration in 1962. Shuck also served on many local, state, and federal commissions and boards and was an active member of numerous professional organizations. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy appointed her as a member of the President's Commission on Registration and Voting Participation. She was a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Interstate Cooperation (1957-1960), the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts (1958-1965) and the University's Building Authority (1960-1968), the Town of South Hadley, Massachusetts Planning Board (1961-1967), the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1962-1974), and the Berkshire Community College New Campus Committee (1964-1973). She was Vice President of the American Political Science Association (1971-1972) and President of the Northeastern Political Science Association (1972-1973).

In 1966 and 1971, Schuck received grants to observe elections in South Vietnam and to study the Vietnamese constitution. Her publications include articles about women in politics and a survey of documents and writings about the Watergate Affair. Shuck retired from full-time teaching at Mount Holyoke in May of 1974, but returned to teach Winter Term courses in 1975 and 1976. She then served as President of Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. from 1977-1980 and received an honorary degree from that school upon her retirement. In 1988, the American Political Science Association established an annual award in her name to be given to the author of a book on women and politics. Schuck died on February 15, 1999 at the age of eighty-nine in Chevy Chase, Maryland.