Sad news regarding Tyler Stovall, former dean and faculty member

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Larive

It is with sadness that we write to share with you the news that Tyler Stovall, our former humanities dean and a longtime faculty member, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Dec. 10, at his home in Manhattan. He was 67.

Tyler stepped down as humanities dean in June 2020, formally retiring from UC Santa Cruz to accept the position of dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University in New York. He was serving in that role at the time of his death.

Tyler’s contributions to our campus were many. He began his tenure as Humanities dean here in Santa Cruz in 2014, coming to us from UC Berkeley, where he was a professor of history and dean of the undergraduate division of the College of Letters and Science. Tyler’s arrival in 2014 was a return, though, not a beginning. He had previously spent 13 years as a faculty member in our History Department, and had also served as provost of Stevenson College. An insightful scholar and author dedicated to social justice and the advancement of minority scholars, Tyler touched the lives of countless students, faculty and staff in his nearly two decades on our campus. We knew Tyler as a skilled educator and as a thoughtful, generous, and kind colleague. He will be missed tremendously.

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Stovall earned his B.A. in history from Harvard University and an M.A in European history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he went on to receive a Ph.D. in Modern European/French History with a minor in Latin American Studies.

In addition to his time on our campus and at Fordham, Tyler taught at The Ohio State University and worked as a visiting professor at the Université de Polynésie Française in Tahiti. He was also a past president of the American Historical Association, the oldest society of historians and history professors in the United States.

He authored several books and numerous articles in the field of modern French history, specializing in transnational history, labor, colonialism, and race. His books include Black France ⁄ France Noire: The History and Politics of Blackness , Paris and the Spirit of 1919: Consumer Struggles, Transnationalism, and Revolution , Universal Nation: A Transnational History of Modern France , and White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea , published at the start of this year.

On our campus, Tyler was a strong advocate for the Black Studies minor and for establishment of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies as a department. He was also a strong supporter of The Humanities Institute (THI), and it developed greatly during his tenure as dean. THI continues to serve as a model for advancing student and faculty research and for creating unique events that engage the broader community in questions that matter to us all.

We offer our deepest condolences to Tyler’s wife, Denise Herd; their son, Justin; and the many in our campus community who counted Tyler as a close colleague and friend. We are grateful for his lasting contributions to our university.