University Senate                                            

Proposed: November 9, 2012

Adopted: November 9, 2012 by voice vote without dissent



WHEREAS, Jacques Martin Barzun CC ’27, M.A. ’28, Ph.D. ’32 spent the majority of his long life in service to Columbia University, as an undergraduate (1923-1927), as a graduate student (1927-1932), as a member of the faculty (1932-1955), as Dean of the Graduate Faculties (1955-1958), as Provost (1958-1967), and as University Professor (1967-1975); and

WHEREAS, Professor Barzun pioneered many of Columbia University’s most venerable traditions, from developing and teaching the precursor to Literature Humanities in 1932, to mercifully sparing hundreds of thousands of graduates of Columbia University from the spring sunshine by changing the color of Columbia’s academic robes from black to light blue; and

WHEREAS, Professor Barzun was the author of more than forty books on a range of subjects, including history, Western culture, music, academic life, research methods, mystery fiction, and baseball; and

WHEREAS, Professor Barzun has been called one of the last century’s premier chroniclers and critics of our modern world – a pioneering cultural historian whose broader metier is deeply humanistic; and

WHEREAS, even following his formal retirement in 1975 and departure to San Antonio, Texas, in 1996, Professor Barzun maintained an active correspondence and continued to publish works of merit and distinction; and

WHEREAS, Professor Barzun inspired numerous tributes and gifts in his name, including the Jacques Barzun Professorship of History and Social Sciences, and the Humanities Scholarship Fund in Honor of Jacques Barzun; and

WHEREAS, over the course of his long life and career, Professor Barzun’s brilliance and accomplishments were always outshone by his humanity, modesty, generosity, and wit;


That the Columbia University Senate, representing faculty, students, administration, staff, librarians, researchers, and alumni, expresses its deepest condolences to the Barzun family at their loss of a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; and


That the Columbia University Senate venerates the memory of an intellectual giant, an ever-curious scholar, a respected colleague, and a beloved teacher for three-quarters of a century.

Proponent: The University Senate