Julian Mates, a professor of English at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University and the founding dean of its School of Visual and Performing Arts, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 83.
Mates, of Glen Cove, was an influential figure in two C.W. Post schools of study - the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which includes the English Department, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts, which he was instrumental in founding and led as its first dean from 1974 through 1987.
"Julian Mates had a profound impact on the arts throughout Long Island University, but his wisdom and dedication were especially loved and honored by countless students at the C.W. Post Campus," said Paul H. Forestell, provost of C.W. Post.
Mates, who has lived in Locust Valley, Sea Cliff and Glen Cove, was remembered for his passion for the arts, his knowledge of literature and his role in cultural events during a 51-year career. His wife, Barbara Fowles, a professor and chairwoman of the Media Arts Department, said her husband "really loved C.W. Post, especially the School of Visual and Performing Arts. It was really the center of his life for many years."
Mates held a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and a PhD from Columbia University. From his first days as an English professor in 1959, to his final years as a lecturer in the Hutton House Lectures, Mates' enthusiasm delighted and inspired students and colleagues. He continued to lecture even after his retirement in 1997.
"People loved him. They would come out for anything he wanted to teach," said Kay Hutchins Sato, an assistant provost who oversees the Hutton House Lectures. "If he were reading 'Hamlet,' you'd believe you were watching it on stage."
In the early 1960s, Mates collaborated with composer Stefan Wolpe, then chairman of the C.W. Post Department of Music, on the campus alma mater "When Evening Falls."
Mates was the founder of the American Theatre Festival, an annual event produced by the Post Theatre Company. He also served as director of the Writing Center and as graduate adviser for the English Department.
There will be a memorial service at the C.W. Post Campus in the fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Post Library Association.