The Department of History is saddened to share that Dr. Jacob H. Dorn, professor emeritus, passed away Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack over the weekend. He was 77 years old. Jake retired in June 2012, after an extraordinary career of 47 years of teaching, scholarship, and service at Wright State and in the wider community.
Jake was among the founding faculty of the University. He obtained his PhD. from the University of Oregon at the remarkably young age of 25. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching at what was then the Dayton campus of Ohio State and Miami Universities in 1965. He joined the faculty full time when the university became independent, and rose to the rank of full Professor by 1974. He taught American history, and specialized in social, intellectual and religious history, particularly in the Progressive Era. In 1972 he founded, and was the director for the next fifteen years, of the university's Honors Program. He oversaw countless senior and Master's theses. Generations of students considered him an outstanding teacher and mentor.
He was also an accomplished scholar. Jake was the author of Washington Gladden: Prophet of the Social Gospel (Ohio State University, 1967), just reprinted in paperback. He and his colleagues Carl M. Becker and Paul G. Merriam compiled A Bibliography of Sources for Dayton, Ohio, 1850-1950 (1971), funded by the National Science Foundation . He was the editor of a collection of essays, Socialism and Christianity in early 20th Century America (Greenwood Press, 1998). He was also the author of numerous articles, contributions and book reviews in a variety of scholarly journals and edited collections.
Jake believed strongly in selfless service to the university, the profession, and the wider community. He was deeply involved with the Ohio Academy of History, serving two terms as president and on virtually every committee. He was particularly active in the Dayton Council on World Affairs (DCOWA), served as a first reader with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was involved with the National Council on U.S./Arab Relations. He served on the board of the American Baptist Historical Society, with the Ohio Board for United Ministries in Higher Education, and with many, many other organizations. He gave of his time freely for innumerable presentations to community groups large and small.
As one former colleague remembered, "I admired and appreciated Jake for his dignity, depth of scholarship, wisdom, and compassionate concern for people." As another stated, "Jake Dorn was the department." He will be missed by the faculty with whom he worked and the generations of students whom he taught. A memorial service in his memory will be held on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Wilkinson St, Dayton, OH 45402 at 11:00 AM. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Jacob H. Dorn Scholarship Fund. Checks made out to the Wright State University Foundation may be sent to the attention of Sara Woodhull, Wright State University Foundation, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton OH 45435 with a notation that they should be directed to the Dorn fund.
Jonathan Reed Winkler
Professor & Chair
Department of History
Posted: September 28, 2017
Tagged: In Memoriam