Gordon Justin Wright
Professor Emeritus Gordon Justin Wright, a specialist in 19th and 20th-century European history,whose career included both academia and diplomacy, served as executive head of the History Department from 1959 to 1965, and as an associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences from 1970 to 1973.
Wright came to Stanford for advanced study after graduating from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. in 1933. He earned his master's degree in 1935 and his doctorate in 1939, taught at the University of Oregon for four years, and then joined the U.S. State Department. After his second tour in France, Wright returned to the University of Oregon and taught there for 18 years. Before coming to Stanford as a full professor in 1957, he also taught at Columbia University and the National War College.
Born in Lynden, Wash., on April 24, 1912, to a family that had roots in America dating back to the 1630s, Wright counted farmers, teachers and preachers among his forefathers. Noting that his great-grandfather joined the California Gold Rush but did not strike it rich, Wright once joked that "my family has never had the knack of making money."