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obituary of Dr. Robert T. Harrison

Obituary – Robert T. Harrison, Emeritus Professor of History, Southern Oregon University

December 31, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I am sorry to report the death of Dr. Robert T. Harrison, Emeritus Professor of History at Southern Oregon University.  Bob passed away just before Christmas in Bend, Oregon, after a short period of declining health.  He joined the Faculty at SOU in 1990 and retired in 2014.  Prior to coming to Ashland, he was Assistant Professor of History at Biola University, and Instructor: Hubbard Chair of British Studies, at the University of Southern California.  Bob also was Visiting Professor of History at SOU’s partner institution, the University of Winchester, UK.    In his scholarship as in his life he was a devoted through far from passive, Anglophile.  Colleagues will recall Bob as a person of great energy, a lover of scholarship (which he readily imparted to his students), a magnificent storyteller, and a ready friend.  He was honored as the SOU Teacher of the Year in 2005.  His scholarship led to the publication of Gladstone’s Imperialism in Egypt:  Techniques of Domination (1995), Historical Dictionary of the British Empire (1997) and Britain in the Middle East 1619-1971 (2016).  He was at work on an invited publication at the time of his death.  

Robert Thomas Harrison, son of Harry Harrison and Hilda Forman, was born in Los Angeles, California on October 13, 1937.  He attended Hollywood High School, earned a BA in History at Biola University, and a Master of Divinity at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena.  He was a juvenile probation officer for Los Angeles County for ten years, a pastor at Glassell American Baptist church in Los Angeles for ten years while studying for the Ph.D. at the University of Southern California.  

In 1990. while then serving as Provost, I hired Bob on the strong recommendation of the search committee and recall that the interview went on for much longer than would have been typical as I was so taken by his passion for history and his lively recounting of his research adventures.  Over subsequent years, while I served as President at SOU, Bob would call me from time to time suggesting we go to Hyatt Lake to do some fishing.  Fishing was but the sidebar to a series of engaging, and often humorous, exchanges of stories.  

Details of a memorial service will follow in due course.

Stephen Reno

President Emeritus


For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement,

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