Thomas A. Kohut, History

Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History, Emeritus

I wonder if you know what we are feeling right now.

You certainly have a gift for insight.

Which might stem from your prior career as a psychotherapist. Or your pioneering scholarship on psychohistory, expanding our understanding of Freud, 20th-century Germany and some of the most psychologically, historically and politically complex moments in European history.

But that gift for insight is also in your nature.

Recalling your tutorial, one alum says, “I continue to be inspired by [his] empathetic approach to the past, where we learned to first understand rather than critique.” Whole volumes have been written in response to your work and your belief in the historical value, not to mention ethical necessity, of considering people on their own terms.

As a scholar, teacher and past Dean of Faculty who helped create our tutorial system, your administrative work, too, has been rooted in rigorous attention to the needs of others. As you once explained, “When a faculty member successfully transmits his or her idealistic commitment to a discipline or field, it helps the student to understand that education, teaching and learning are not only about the self, about one’s own performance. They are about an idealistic commitment to ideas, to knowledge, to other people.”

We heartily agree. But you probably knew we would.

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

June 2, 2024