Gagnon, Paul A(delard) 1925–2005

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Gagnon, Paul A(delard) 1925–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 6, 1925, in Springfield, MA; died April 28, 2005, in Cambridge, MA. Educator, historian, and author. Gagnon was founding dean of the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a lifelong advocate of the importance of teaching history to American students. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His experiences with World War II instilled in him a desire to understand the causes of war. This, in turn, led him to study history. He earned a B.A. in history and government from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1950 and joined the university's faculty two years later. After completing a Ph.D. in European history in 1960 at Harvard University, he became a full professor in 1966, as well as dean of the new Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. Gagnon served as dean for four years and continued to teach at Boston until his retirement as professor emeritus. As a teacher, Frank strongly felt that students needed to understand history in order to better participate in a democratic society as adults, and he also championed the importance of a liberal education in general. Consequently, in 1990 he helped to found the National Council for History Education and became a consultant to school districts around the country. From 1991 to 1993 he was also director of the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching. Gagnon was the author of France since 1789 (1964) and Democracy's Untold Story: What World History Textbooks Neglect (1987), as well as coeditor of Historical Literacy: The Case for History in American Education (1989).



Boston Globe Online, (May 6, 2005).