William G. Wagner, Brown Professor of History, Emeritus

“A history lover’s history professor.” That’s how you are remembered by one of the many students you have taught how to more deeply investigate the past in order to more clearly comprehend the present. Your own scholarship has reveled in the rich history of Russia, especially the experience of its women before and after the revolution. Your courses, many of them interdisciplinary examinations of Russian culture, shed light on its current arc—from the height of the Cold War, at the beginning of your career, through perestroika, to whatever future historians will call that country’s current dynamic. Grateful we are that you adopted none of the tendencies of Russian leadership while fulfilling here at Williams positions of growing responsibility. This began with service as assistant dean of the college, then director of the Oxford program, followed by dean of the faculty, and finally interim president—the last of these at a time of global financial crisis. Through it all you remained at heart a professor who, as another former student recalls, “always had a little smile on his face as if looking to share some great story from Russian history.”

I hereby declare you Brown Professor of History, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 4, 2017