A huge Loss to The UW!

UW Alumni Association's photo.
Reading the recent to and fro on the AAUP listserv about students using Facebook or Tweeting in class, I was put into a bit of a reverie by learning of the passing of legendary history professor Jon Bridgman.  His death  leaves a huge hole in the UW firmament.

I remember coming here and being urged by colleagues to go to hear these lectures.  Many students told me they had “majored in Bridgman,” undergoing the kind of metamorphosis that affected me when I was an undergrad and met David Owen at Winthrop House. (To tell the truth Owen was so much brighter than I that I decided History was too hard and became a biologist!).

I never did get to any of Bridgman’s lectures but was glad that my son, Hillel,  got the chance.  Hillel described for me sitting in the largest of the UW’s lecture rooms with the students seated up to the wall.  Bridgman was apparently a showman, a great character.  He also had some sort of speech problem and would periodically bellow out a CROOAQKKK sound!

The courses were Western Civilization and a History of WWI.  I do not know if Bridgman or I can claim credit, but my son has become a lifelong historian (and a geneticist).

Bridgman was a graduate of Stanford University and spent his entire teaching career at the University of Washington.   His popularity as a speaker earned him a position lecturing to the annual meeting of the UW Alumni Association from 1987, and the alumni have rewarded his retirement by donating funds to endow the Jon Bridgman Professorship in History at the University of Washington.

His books included The Revolt of the Hereros (Perspectives on Southern Africa) and The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps.

Learn more about his life and legacy here:…/memoriam-jon-bridgman-1930-20….

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