Dec. 6, 1932 – Sept. 25, 2013
Nicholas P. Cushner, Ph.D., a Latin American history scholar, author and entrepreneur, died Wednesday in Delaware Heights Nursing Home following a fall several months ago that left him a quadriplegic. He was 80.
Born in Manhattan, he graduated from Xavier High School and was ordained as a priest in the Society of Jesus.
He taught high school in the Philippines and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ateneo de Manila University.
Dr. Cushner received a Ph.D. in history from Kings College at the University of London in 1968, then came to Buffalo to teach history at Canisius College.
In 1975, Dr. Cushner joined Empire State College as part of the history department. He also worked as a liaison between Empire State College and the local Puerto Rican community. In 1979, he received the Empire State College Foundation Faculty Leadership Award. In 1983, he was named Outstanding Scholar by the Empire State Foundation and was also a Fulbright Scholar.
Dr. Cushner rose to full professor at Empire State College and was named an emeritus professor when he retired from teaching. He continued to conduct research and write in retirement.
He was a mentor in history and anthropology with the Niagara Frontier Learning Center and an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
A widely published scholar, he served as president of the New York State Latin Americanists; a member of the University Awards Committee of the SUNY Research Foundation; and an adjunct professor of Latin American history at the University at Buffalo.
He published several books about Latin America and Philippine history and traveled extensively to lecture on historical topics, literature and society, as well as the effects of culture on business
He received a Fulbright Senior Research Grant in 1984 to study in Peru, where he paid particular attention to the role the Jesuits played in the development of agrarian capitalism. He also wrote two contemporary novels, more than 50 articles and book reviews and several travel books.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Dr. Cushner spearheaded Walk Buffalo, an early effort to promote the architecture of Buffalo through self-guided walking tours; its guidebook has seen several editions.
He lived in many countries, including the Philippines, Italy, Spain, Peru, Argentina, Mexico. He spoke Spanish fluently and did much of his research in Spanish.
He is survived by his wife, Janice; two stepsons, P. Christopher Dirr and Matthew Dirr, and a stepdaughter, Patrice Scheyer.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 1035 Delaware Ave.