University News

Retired history professor Tom Gleason dies

Campus-wide email highlights Gleason’s “remarkable” personal, professional life

By
News Editor
Sunday, December 27, 2015

Updated 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 31.

Abbott “Tom” Gleason, professor emeritus of history and faculty member at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, died Friday, President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a campus-wide email Saturday.

Gleason, who began his “long and productive” career at the University in 1968 as an assistant professor, taught courses on Russian history, the Cold War and international relations, the email stated. Gleason served as director of the Watson Institute between 1999 and 2000 and is a former chair of the Department of History. A talented painter, Gleason also crafted a number of works exhibited at the Watson Institute in 2013, Paxson wrote.

Paxson described Gleason as a “teacher, administrator, scholar, colleague and friend.” In his memoir “A Liberal Education,” Gleason chronicled his work, his interests in music and art as well as his experience with Parkinson’s disease, Paxson wrote.

“Tom Gleason will be much missed,” wrote Cynthia Brokaw, professor and chair of the Department of History, in an email to The Herald. “Since his retirement in 2005 he remained a close friend of the department,” she added. “A civil rights activist, distinguished historian of Russia, devoted teacher, department and university leader, jazz aficionado, writer and painter, he was a man of wide-ranging talents and passionate commitments — a model for us all.”

The University will provide information about a memorial service to be held on campus in late January when its exact date is determined.

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