Remembering Bill Siegel
Bill Siegel was a great person.
We at the Great Books Foundation are all in shock today. Bill worked with us for 23 years and brought joy and inspiration to us every day.
Bill was great with teachers and kids. He was a passionate supporter of close reading and dynamic discussion. He showed so many, many teachers how to ask questions and then back off and let students answer them. He was an excellent trainer, conducting hundreds of Shared Inquiry workshops and boosting thousands of teachers in the way they practiced their craft.
Bill brought his filmmaking expertise to us as well, helping us create many videos that showed teachers and kids discussing great stories. He knew how to get the best out of people in front of the camera, whether it was the countless small-scale projects he worked on at Great Books or his many excellent documentary films. We were proud and humbled that he used his skill to further our project of providing the best education to all kids.
Bill was a great friend to so many of us, too. He loved teaching and making films, yes, but he was a giant Cubs fan, Twins fan, Vikings fan, Bulls fan, music fan. . . . Many of us talked for hours about these enthusiasms with Bill.
And Bill was a liberal. Let’s not shy away from that word today. Because Bill supported people of the least means, and of every background. He campaigned for people who wanted to make the world more equal and fair. Let’s remember him as someone who tried to help everyone he could with all the means at his disposal.
The mission of the Great Books Foundation is to advance the critical, reflective thinking and social and civic engagement of readers of all ages through Shared Inquiry™ discussion of works and ideas of enduring value.
I just read this today (3/28), and I’m very saddened to learn of Bill’s passing. It’s been over 12 years since I retired from GBF, but I fondly recall Bill’s humor, insight, talent, and compassion. I am very thankful for the opportunity to have known Bill Siegel; he was indeed a great person.