G. Gaddis Smith

Larned Professor of History

G. Gaddis SmithGaddis Smith, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Yale University, faculty member at Yale since 1961, you are the complete Yale professor. As a scholar, your 200 articles, essays, and reviews, and your major books—American Diplomacy in the Second World War; Dean Acheson (a biography); Morality, Reason, and Power: American Diplomacy in the Carter Years; and The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine—have redrawn the contours of American foreign affairs scholarship. As a distinguished teacher and community citizen, the list of your accomplishments in your 39 years on this faculty is many and varied enough to require an abbreviated report and a long breath to describe them: you have taught more than 8,000 undergraduates, directed the dissertations of more than 40 PhD students, chaired the department of History, served as the beloved Master of Pierson College, and Directed the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

And there is more. Since the death of George Pierson, you have served as Yale’s historian, drawing on a profound institutional connection that began when you were a Yale undergraduate and Chairman of the Yale Daily News. In your new history of Yale you have aimed not simply to advance the work of your predecessor but to re-imagine it in a contemporary context. Yale and the External World: The Shaping of the University in the 20th Century will not show the University looking into itself, but relating to the world beyond it. Your efforts for Yale have had an emblematic resonance. George Pierson once wrote: “Yale students are known for not being loners they are not solitary. They are part of each other. They have a positive, constructive, believing frame of mind. They are enthusiastic, they are active, they have a sense of obligation.” Today, as you retire, the Yale faculty is proud to salute you, Gaddis Smith, as an individual embodiment of those Yale students.

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans