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John M. Tomsich, Faculty

A picture of John Tomsich

John M. Tomsich, Cornelia Marvin Pierce Professor of American History and Institutions, emeritus, August 21, 2007, in Minnesota. Tomsich received a BA (1957) and an MA (1959) from the University of Minnesota. He worked on the student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily,and was editor in 1956–57. In 1963, he earned a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in history. His interest in American intellectual history, explored in part in his book, A Genteel Endeavor: American Culture and Politics in the Gilded Age (1971), expanded to include the history of science and technology. In his article about Tomsich for Reed magazine (“News of the College,” August 1999), Ed Segel, professor of history and humanities, noted: “In Humanities 220 (originally Hum 210), Tomsich contributed a series of lectures that are still recalled with admiration-carefully crafted, lucid, and literate lectures on a wide variety of figures such as John Locke, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Nietzsche, and Freud-where layers of thought and personality would be successively peeled away through search and skeptical analysis.” Tomsich taught at Reed from 1962 to 1999, and served as department chair and senior Americanist. At the time of his retirement, he was awarded status of honorary alumnus by the alumni association. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow (1967–68 and 1982–83). He also received the Vollum Award for Contributions to the College in 1981, and was a recipient of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation's Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award-recognition of a faculty member who makes a “distinct difference” in the teaching climate of the college. His nomination for this award by Reed faculty members was based on Tomsich's longstanding performance as a teacher and his positive student evaluations and class enrollment.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2008

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