Professor John Kirkland
John Kirkland, who taught history at Bucknell for 42 years, died Aug. 11 in Columbia, S.C.

A former chair of the history department, Kirkland’s special interests were European and intellectual history. He also taught interdepartmental courses, particularly in political science, and read manuscripts for the Bucknell University Press as a member of its editorial board.

An insatiable learner, he built a significant and wide-ranging library covering intellectual, cultural and political history; philosophy from the Greeks to the present; critical and literary theory; and poetry. A master teacher, he was able to connect with each student generation and spent as much time with students advising independent studies and honors theses as he did in the formal classroom.

“John taught courses that were intellectually challenging and often life-changing for his students,” says Professor Ann Tlusty P’06, history. “Many of them viewed him as a key mentor and chose careers and other life paths that were influenced by the lessons learned in his classroom.” Among those who credit Kirkland with helping them chart their course is noted author and historian David Nasaw ’67.

Former student and colleague Erica Delsandro ’02, M’05 noted that “I always joked that my history B.A. was a Professor Kirkland degree. I think I took every class that he offered. His impact continues to influence my work today as a
teacher and scholar at Bucknell.”

Among his survivors are his wife, Sara; daughter, Kimberly; and grandsons Evan and Liam.