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In Memoriam: Dina Schein Federman 1969–2016

June 28, 2016

Irvine, CA, June 28, 2016

Dina Schein Federman, 47, died on May 28, 2016, after an extended battle with cancer. She was at home, and at peace, surrounded by her loved ones in Mission Viejo, California. A graveside service was held on May 29 at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest, California.

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) will host a tribute to Dr. Federman at its OCON summer conference, on Wednesday, July 6, 5:00 pm, at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Bellevue, Washington. Friends and colleagues will share remembrances. The event is open to all.

Dina Federman was born May 5, 1969, in Saratov, Russia. She emigrated to the United States at age ten with her family. She was an accomplished student at secondary school in Arkansas, and her undergraduate years were spent at Stanford University, where she completed her BA in philosophy in 1990. She lived in New York City for two years while studying in the Ayn Rand Institute’s graduate training program. After earning her PhD in philosophy in 2003 at the University of Texas in Austin, she served as an adjunct faculty member in the philosophy department at Auburn University for four years.

A longtime Objectivist, Dr. Federman was not only a student and friend of ARI, but much more, and for many years. She was a campus Objectivist club organizer, an OCON faculty member, a part-time employee working on a variety of projects, and a long-term consultant to the Ayn Rand Archives. At OCON as well as at other conferences and venues, she delivered lectures based on her work related to Ayn Rand; topics included “The Russian Film Writings of Ayn Rand,” “Ayn Rand as Intellectual Activist,” and “Savoring Ayn Rand’s ‘Red Pawn’.”

A singular aspect of Dr. Federman’s career is her key role as translator from Russian to English of the 900 letters received by Ayn Rand in the 1920s and 1930s from her family in Leningrad. The massive project was undertaken by the Ayn Rand Archives in 1996 and completed in 2003. Dr. Michael S. Berliner, then executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, home of the Archives, said, “Dina loved the challenge of translating the letters. The more she learned about Ayn Rand’s family, the more exciting it was for her. It was a major source of joy and accomplishment in her career. Her work led to articles and talks by herself and others, and has resulted in the letters’ status as a major research source about Ayn Rand’s family, their relationship to Miss Rand, and their life in Russia.”

Dr. Federman is survived by her husband of nine years, Simon, a longtime member of the Institute’s staff; their son, Gabriel, 7; her parents, Boris and Eugenia Schein, of Fayetteville, Arkansas; her brother, Michael Schein, of Jerusalem, Israel; and by her many friends and colleagues around the world.

In cooperation with the Ayn Rand Institute, Simon Federman has established the Dina Schein Federman Memorial Fund at ARI. The Fund will support the Ayn Rand Archives and provide scholarships for students enrolled in the Objectivist Academic Center. Contributions to the Fund are welcome; for more information, contact Kathy Cross at kcross@aynrand.org, 732-242-9408.

Harry Binswanger, an Institute board member and Dr. Federman’s professor at ARI in the 1990s, said, “A fervent admirer and defender of Ayn Rand, Dina was a principled and passionate crusader for reason, egoism, and individualism. She is greatly missed.”