News about founding faculty member John Dizikes

To: UC Santa Cruz Staff and Faculty

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

I'm writing today to pass along some sad news. John Dizikes, a founding UC Santa Cruz faculty member who helped establish this campus as a student-focused institution, died Dec. 26 at his home in Santa Cruz.

During his more than 50-year association with UC Santa Cruz, John left an indelible mark. He was a professor of history, a co-founder of the American Studies Department, and a provost of Cowell College. First and foremost, though, he was a dedicated educator, committed to the ideals of UC Santa Cruz and absolutely devoted to our students.

John first saw our campus when it was still unfolding in the minds of our founders. No buildings had even been constructed yet, but he was thrilled by the opportunity to help build an institution from the ground up, where new approaches to higher education could be implemented, with students the centerpiece. John was a central figure in those early efforts. He mentored thousands of students over the course of his career. An award bearing his name is presented each year to a Humanities Division faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, recognizing the transformative impact great teaching has on undergraduates.

John saw himself as a student — always curious, always learning — and had wide-ranging interests. He loved music. He had a deep interest in thoroughbred horse racing. His book on opera in America won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He was a scholar on Roosevelt's New Deal. His most recent book, published less than a year ago, was a group biography of female writers. Our campus loses a Renaissance man with his passing.

John was a wonderful colleague — personable, helpful, and undeniably enthusiastic about UC Santa Cruz. His passing will be felt deeply, but he leaves us with a rich legacy. John positively impacted the lives of thousands. My deepest condolences to his wife Ann, their children, and to his extended family, friends, and students.

A full obituary can be found on our UC Santa Cruz Newscenter.