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Robert Combs Warner*
Bachelor of Science - 1966 - Journalism
Master of Arts - 1973 - American Studies
Courage was no stranger to Bob Warner. In WWII, he received a Purple Heart for courage when the Navy oil tanker he served on came under air attack. It took a different kind of courage for the Douglas rancher to enter UW as an undergrad at age 37, but he met that challenge, too. His skill with a camera and in the darkroom were put to work as chief photographer for the Branding Iron, and then as a teacher in the journalism department.
After completing his journalism degree (and a secondary teaching certificate), he began teaching photography and photojournalism, and helping to build a program which has produced many of the region's most respected journalists. He taught from 1971 until his death in 1989. As a teacher he demanded much -- but gave more. His door was always open, his patience and good humor in answering students' questions seemingly endless. He communicated respect and love for his field, teaching technique in the context of history, science, and art. He inspired students to excel, to have him rate their work "top drawer!" For many, he continued as a meticulous but gentle critic and mentor long after they finished their degrees. He further encouraged students through his work with the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and with high school journalism contests. He was also the recognized authority on nineteenth-century western artist Alfred Jacob Miller, the only artist to portray the vigorous years of the central Rocky Mountain fur trade. Warner's research notes and book, The Fort Laramie of Alfred Jacob Miller, are cited in many contemporary works on western art. Because of his efforts, a collection of Miller paintings and associated materials, valued at close to $3 million, is now at UW's American Heritage Center.
*In loving memory.