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Herbert R. Dieterich - 2007 Outstanding Former Faculty
Born in Moberly, Missouri, Herbert Dieterich received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s of public administration from the University of Kansas. In 1958, he earned a Ph.D. in American Civilization and United States History from the University of New Mexico. He became a faculty member of the UW Department of History in 1958.
Known among his colleagues as an unflappable and cordial man, Dieterich served as department chair between 1990 and 1993 and as acting director of American Studies from 1980 to 1982. “There are, by definition, no history emergencies,” notes Associate Professor Kristine Utterback, Department of History. “While Herb almost certainly did not coin that phrase, he used it often enough that the department associates it with him.” Associate Professor Phil Roberts, Department of History, adds, “I’ll always remember and value his advice about not losing sight of our primary goals of teaching, service to the state community, and research. And, as Herb often said, when I would perceive immediate external pressures on my time, ‘There are no emergencies in history.’ ”
Dieterich’s calm demeanor and excellent leadership abilities motivated him to serve as a member of the UW Faculty Senate Executive Committee ((1987-1990), the National Executive Committee of the American Studies Association (1971-1974), the National Membership Committee of the Organization of American Historians (1980-1990), A&S Central Committee, A&S Honors Program Committee, and as president of the Rocky Mountain American Studies Association (1961-1962). Deiterich was recognized by students as an inspiring teacher.
Dieterich taught United States History and American Studies, and he was director of more than 50 theses. Former students remember him as respectful and encouraging. “My enduring memory is his standing before the class with a different book each time,” says Kathy Karpan, College of Arts and Sciences Exemplary Alumna, “thumbing through the dog-eared pages to read a particularly effective quotation to illustrate a point he had just made in his lecture.” After retiring from teaching, Dieterich continued working with students and advising faculty members.