Robert F. “Bob” Southard, 62, professor of history and Jewish studies, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at his residence in Chicago. He had been teaching an advanced research seminar at Newberry Library in Chicago for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
Bob had taught at Earlham since 1971 and served as associate academic dean from 2001-06. He taught a wide range of courses from 20th Century Europe to Medieval Jewish History. He also regularly taught general education and interdisciplinary courses. He even led a “Colloquium on Public Discourse” in which he met with students in the evening to discuss the New York Times.
In addition to serving as a teacher and mentor to many students, he played crucial roles in many different aspects of the institution. At various times, he served as convener of the Jewish Studies Program, as director of the Humanities Program, and convener of the History Department. In recent years he was also very active in discussion of general education and assessment on campus. Colleagues appreciated his warm sense of humor and his ability to get to the heart of the matter during faculty discussions of College policies.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Greg Mahler notes, “His impact on our campus and our community was deep and significant, and he will be greatly missed.”
Bob was the author of the book, Droysen and the Prussian School (University Presses of Kentucky, 1994) and dozens of articles and conference papers.
Born in Baltimore, Md. in 1945, and raised in New Jersey, Bob earned a B.A. in history from Columbia University (N.Y.C.) in 1966 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1974. He completed post-graduate work in Jewish languages and literatures at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Edna Southard; two sons, David Southard of Fort Myers, Fla., and Jared Southard of Burlington, Vt.
Bob was buried at Earlham Cemetery in a private ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007. A memorial service was held on March 2, 2008 in Stout Meetinghouse.
The Robert F. Southard Endowed Fund for Jewish Studies, honoring the life and leadership of Bob Southard, is dedicated to strengthening the curricular offerings in Jewish Studies. Bob provided committed leadership to this area through inquiry, thought, and intellectual discourse.
For more information about the fund or to make a gift, please contact Jim McKey, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Earlham College, 801 National Road West, Richmond, Indiana 47374.
Friends, please note that commenting for this memorial is now closed. To download a PDF of all comments left for this memorial, please click here.