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Jon Gjerde December 16, 2008

Posted by Merrilee in Uncategorized.

I came home from work tonight and found out that one of my favorite professors died in October. He was only 55, less than 15 years older than I am now.

Jon Gjerde was my History 7A professor my very first semester at Cal. (7A was the American history from the beginning to the Civil War.) I was fortunate to have Professor Gjerde as not only the course instructor, but the section leader for my discussion section. It was his first semester at UC Berkeley as well, so we went through that first semester together. Over the years that I was a student in the history department at Cal, when I went on to work in the library, and even after leaving UC Berkeley in 2001, I tracked Gjerde’s career. It always felt like he was a classmate, in a way.

Jon Gjerde was accessible, and made discussing history and our readings interesting, and … fun. Gjerde gave me a great introduction to the history department at Cal, to American history, and to the idea of a career in history. For a time, I considered pursuing my PhD in American History, and that was in part due to Gjerde and a few others who inspired me. Despite a career that has essentially been in libraries, I have always considered myself to be at heart a historian. I wish I had had the chance to tell him how much he meant to me, and that I had gotten to know him better.

UC Berkeley obit.



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