The famed philosopher John Dewey believed that education should be about something more than economic competitiveness. In his lecture at the dedication of UCLA in 1930, he noted, “Its goal should be the creation of human beings in the fullness of their capacity.”

Jeannie Oakes, UCLA’s Presidential Professor Emerita of Education Equity, was the embodiment of that goal. After a life and career that informed and inspired many, she died at her home in Berkeley, California, on April 25. She was 81.

Oakes’ scholarship and teaching set the direction for a UCLA School of Education & Information Studies dedicated to helping all students achieve their full potential and to developing educators committed to opportunity, equity and justice.

During her time at UCLA, Oakes founded Center X, which focuses on teacher education and educational leadership, and the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, which seeks to address racial and class inequalities in education. She also founded and directed the University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity and most recently served as director of education and scholarship at the Ford Foundation.

“These details only scratch the surface of Jeannie’s professional accomplishments, and they do not even begin to reveal the personal impact she had on so many people,” said Christina Christie, the Wasserman Dean of the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies. “Always known for her kindness and warmth, Jeannie was a mentor and friend to everyone she met. Her husband, Martin Lipton, shared that she was ‘proud to be part of a community that fought to make the world a better place’ and that she hoped we would all carry on with this work.”

Read the full obituary on the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies website.