Chris Waters, History

Hans W. Gatzke ’38 Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus

We frequently remind students that their major is not their destiny. But…accounting?

Maybe we can credit it for your meticulous research and precise prose, including your aversion to split infinitives. Maybe you owe to that experience your talent for discerning patterns in data, as you have done in your widely and well-reviewed studies of everything from Victorian-era leisure to the politics of popular culture. Your books and articles, lauded for their diverse sources and wide-ranging topics, together weave a powerful story of how people construct their sense of self amid complex social, economic and political pressures.

However we calculate it, though, your former students feel indebted to you as a teacher and mentor. As one of them writes, “[He] taught me that appearances can be deceiving. To understand the truth, one had to question reality and seek to discover the hidden patterns that contain clues to our world.”

From a childhood in postwar England to adolescence in ’60s-era Orange County.  And an accounting major at Cal State to a British history Harvard, and a brilliant history of teaching at Williams. It all adds up…somehow!

I hereby declare you the Hans W. Gatzke ’38 Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 2, 2024