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In 1970, Mort Maimon Co-Authored Stories of the Inner City, a school textbook that sold over a million copies.
An Excerpt from the Preface:
“Straight Talk to the Reader
This book is for people who like to read and also for people who would rather do anything but read. We have aimed at their interests by telling about characters and situations they will recognize.
The settings of the stories is the city—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia—any city in this country. The stories take place now and are concerned with happenings and ideas that are important to everybody, especially people who live in cities.
These stories will make you think, will make you talk and probably will make you disagree with others who read them. The important thing is to read them and discuss them honestly. Although the stories are about important things, they are not hard to understand. Vocabulary in the stories has been carefully chosen for enjoyable reading.
There is no one ‘right’ answer to any discussion question. Each reader brings his past experiences to these stories. Therefore, he will understand them in a personal, individual way. His idea of the meaning of an event may not be the same as anyone else’s. We want you to express your real feelings in answering discussion questions. We would like you also to listen to answers given by your classmates. You will disagree with some of them very strongly. Good discussions sometimes depend on disagreement. The only thing we ask you to do is hear what your classmates are saying. Even though you have not given the same answer, even though you don’t agree—hear!
Somebody else’s answer can be a valuable new approach that had not occurred to you. Even if you continue to disagree, be prepared to explain why. Disagreement is worthwhile only when both sides defend their opinions thoughtfully and reasonably.
Don’t expect every story to have a happy ending. These stories are meant to be realistic and deal with life as it is. We are confident that you will enjoy them.”
Explore Mort Maimon’s Guest Writing Work
July 1st, 2021
Only somewhat tongue-in-cheek, longtime presidential spouse Mort Maimon holds up his wife’s approach to retirement as a model for a new contest.
Our national obsession with rankings confirms the deep competitiveness stirring within us. That quality provides the lifeblood for gambling syndicates trying to entice us into betting. It also provides oxygen for publications like U.S. Ruse & World Distort to remain, somehow, relevant. People genuinely concerned with quality assessments of colleges and universities are lured into accepting simplistic numerology compiled to enhance circulation numbers, not to advance the public good.
January 25, 2017
You'd think that after taking the ferry from Bellingham to Haines for the first time, I'd be left with images of whales and bald eagles and dolphins as dominant recollections of the trip. And, to a large extent, that's true. But there's one other image, not so inspiring and benign, that persists.
Let me set the scene. Our daughter, Gillian, a first-grade teacher in an inner-city (a euphemism I've grown to hate) school, and I felt exercise-deprived on the M/V Malaspina, so we conned ourselves into thinking…
What They Didn’t Do
January 25, 2017
A presidential spouse for two decades, Mort Maimon shares what he’s learned along the way.
The summer before my wife, Elaine, began her first university presidency, I had conflicting feelings about our impending move. Over all, I was elated. I understood her passion for higher education and looked forward to how she would help advance her cause. But another, decidedly less positive, thought jostled for attention. At Elaine’s other institutions, where she’d served as a senior administrator but not the top one, I came and went as I pleased without any expectations attached to me, official or otherwise. I knew that independence was about to change…
A list of don'ts for presidential spouses (essay)
June 13, 2016
Sometimes it's best for a presidential spouse to avoid the role of a home-run-crushing slugger and to focus instead on relatively inconspicuous but worthwhile endeavors, writes Mort Maimon.
When my wife, who now leads Governors State University, accepted her first college presidency, I was elated. Mostly I was happy for her, but, as implications of the position broadened in my mind, I thought, not entirely objectively, about personal opportunities I might find tempting. These would, I rationalized, help balance the standard kinds of support I expected to provide.
A presidential spouse sees himself as a utility player on his wife's team (essay)
May 4, 2017
Presidential spouse Mort Maimon takes a CIA-like approach to try to uncover the campus issues his wife is coping with.
As we walked to the parking lot after a workout, one of my gym-rat pals, fairly new to the university, asked me whether rumors that the campus swimming pool would shut down soon were accurate. Not missing a beat, our other companion shot back, “Dumb question! His answer’s always, ‘I have no idea.’ He never, ever has any useful insider info!” I smiled at his not entirely playful little vent, mainly because it confirmed the effectiveness of a personal policy, the product of a wise marital collaboration.
A president's spouse secretly tries to stay abreast of campus issues (essay)
Philadelphia is a uniquely welcoming city. Pleasant and walkable, it offers visitors with limited time memorable insights into its distinctive features. Virtually no other city blends history and contemporary culture so effectively. Close to your hotel, the Independence Hall area should be on your must-see list. Start at Sixth and Market Streets with visits to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, then proceed to Second and Market to explore the Museum of the American Revolution…
Read More on the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education
Mort’s Guide to Philadelphia for NAPAHE
April 18, 2018
In a difficult environment for higher education and the nation, Mort Maimon discovers resilience in adversity in a somewhat surprising place.
The expanse of prairie stretching beyond our breakfast room window turned out to be an unexpected bonus. A decade ago, when my wife and I bought our house in the Chicago suburbs, curb appeal, room layout and proximity to the university were its major attractions…
A presidential spouse muses about the current environment for higher education (opinion)
June 28, 2019
Mort Maimon, a president's spouse, describes why he financially supports students who confront obstacles to obtaining a college degree.
As part of a small audience at a Governors State University luncheon to honor prize-winning writers, I listened intently as a young woman read an excerpt from her autobiographical writing. Her tone seemed somewhat distant, contemplative really, as though she engaged more with her words than with her audience…
Philanthropy for the New Majority
June 25, 2021
Mort Maimon considers what he's discovered about higher education and himself during a 24-year learning experience.
Along with my fellow graduates in other areas of study, I looked forward to striding across the stage this spring to be awarded my master of arts in presidential spousedom. Coursework completed, thesis done!
Graduation Reflections of a Presidential Spouse
January 29, 2021
Mort Maimon recalls how, as a longtime presidential spouse, his conversations with his wife often resembled ping-pong matches.
“Negativity is embedded in your DNA!” my exasperated conversation partner told me following one of our frequent disagreements about politics. I instantly considered hiring Rudy Giuliani to represent me in a defamation suit, but he’s otherwise engaged, and besides, the source of the allegation was my wife, Elaine Maimon, an all-too credible witness…