Tribute: Emeritus Professor John Salmond

John Salmond

A memorial service for one of La Trobe University’s most distinguished contributors in the shaping of the University, Professor John Salmond, was held at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus,  on Friday, July 5, 2013. 

A crowd of over 300 people attended the service at which Professor Salmond, who retired as Professor of History in 2002, was remembered as a highly esteemed colleague, who gave a long and particularly distinguished service to the University.   He was also remembered as an ‘elegant writer’ - particularly about the civil rights movement in the American South.  
Professor Salmond was born on 28 September 1937, in Dunedin, New Zealand.   He completed his BA at the University of Otago in 1959, and his MA there in 1961. Exemplifying that expansion of horizons and awareness of possibilities that were a marked feature of university education in Australia and New Zealand in the 1960s, he then studied for his PhD at Duke University, North Carolina, completing it in 1964.

In 1968, a year after the newly founded La Trobe University commenced accepting students, he was appointed Senior Lecturer in History here, where, in 1970, he was promoted to Professor of American History.  In the next thirty years, Professor Salmond gave distinguished administrative service, serving many terms as, variously, Chair of the Department of History, Deputy Dean and Dean of the School of Humanities, Deputy Chair of the Academic Board, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Acting Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Salmond taught generations of students the intricacies of North American History, and numbers of the post-graduate students whom he supervised have completed well-regarded theses and are now pursuing academic careers. Together with his colleagues in North American history, he oversaw the growth of fine library resources in his chosen field at La Trobe.

Professor Salmond also gave notable service to the History profession, in particular to the study of North American history in Australia and New Zealand. He has served as Secretary, Vice President and President of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, and as Chair of the Victorian Fulbright Selection Committee.

If that wasn’t enough, Professor Salmond also wrote nine monographs, co-wrote (with Dr William Breen) a general history of the United Sates and co-edited four collections of essays with Professor Bruce Clayton.
Professor Salmond's scholarly accomplishments brought him many academic distinctions. He was the recipient of American Council of Learned Societies fellowships, and of visiting professorships. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1993 and he received the Gustavus Myers Centre for the study of Human Rights in the United States Award for the Outstanding Book for 1990.
Upon his retirement from La Trobe, as a mark of his significant contribution to the University and the wider community, Professor Salmond was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa).  The University community expressed its condolences to Professor Salmond’s immediate and extended family and friends.

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