Mathew Daniel McCubbins, husband, father, grandfather, and scholar, passed away at age 64 on Thursday, the first of July, 2021 in Menlo Park, California.
Mathew was born on December 8th, 1956 in Norfolk, Virginia, the fourth and youngest child of Gertrude and Hershel Winnis McCubbins. His family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was raised. There met his high school sweetheart and future wife, Susan, whom he eventually married on August 2, 1980. Together they had two sons, Colin born in 1985 and Kenny born in 1988.
He graduated with a Doctorate in Political Science from the California Institute of Technology in 1982 and moved into a professorship. In his career spanning 39 years, he was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California San Diego, the University of Southern California, and Duke University. He was a prolific and highly influential scholar whose research program spanned the political science, economics, law, computer science, human cognition, and neuroscience. His research was defined by his broad methodological capability and his focus on scientific rigor. His collected scholarship helped to lay the foundation for the modern study of the social sciences and are taught as seminal works in undergraduate and graduate programs across the country.
Perhaps the most telling of his academic style was that he was extraordinarily collaborative with both his peers and his students and he built teams wherever he went. His graduate students were active parts of his research programs and continued to be so long after their graduation. His style extended to his family, where he spent countless hours guiding, mentoring, and eventually, collaborating with his sons on their many classroom and, later, professional projects. He was a tireless, lifelong mentor to all those around him and was incomparably generous with his time, effort, and ideas. As a result, he developed lasting bonds of friendship among those with whom he worked.
To know him personally was to always have him in your corner; he poured his heart into all of his relationships. He was a consummate family man and devoted himself to ensuring his family’s health and happiness, sacrificing his time and energy without hesitation. Such was his loyalty that he developed many friendships in his youth that lasted his entire life. He and his friends would regularly reunite in Los Angeles for holidays, or the Bay Area for seasonal get-togethers, or in San Diego for Super Bowl Sunday, and it would be like nothing had ever changed.
He had many hobbies -- growing up and through his young adulthood he was a basketball player, later transitioning to martial arts and hockey to build a closer bond with his children. He enjoyed reading and watching science fiction. He loved the sciences beyond his own field and would often study physics, medicine, computer science, and math in his spare time. He reveled in the odd tv series, watched as a family after dinner, night after night.
Mathew is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Susan Shugets McCubbins, his adoring sons Colin Hwa-En and Kenneth HwaLong, and his energetic grandchildren Kieran Alexander, Clark Mathew, and Cora Beth.
Mathew was a scholar of uncommon vision and insight and a man of equally uncommon kindness and heart. His passing is an immeasurable loss not only to his family and long-time friends but also to an entire discipline of scholars, students, and peers that he helped to shape.
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