"In Memoriam: Ross Doughty ’68"

In Memoriam: Ross Doughty ’68

Ross Doughty ’68, a proud Ursinus alumnus, longtime professor and historian, and celebrated member of the Ursinus community for more than 50 years, passed away on Thursday, March 28, after a valiant battle with ALS.

Doughty dedicated his life to education and to Ursinus, graduating in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He went on to earn his master’s degree and Ph.D. in European history from Harvard University and, in addition to his training as a British historian, studied early modern and modern Europe, Germany, military history, international politics and world history.

At Ursinus, Doughty anchored the history program since 1975, in addition to leading Ursinus in a number of other capacities. He was history department chair for 19 years over two extended terms and lent his leadership to the education department as acting chair. He also assisted in the establishment of the East Asian studies minor and enthusiastically supported the international relations program.


“Ross Doughty was an amazing mentor to me as an undergraduate at Ursinus, a terrific and supportive colleague after I joined the English department, and a close friend for over 40 years,” said Rebecca Jaroff ’81, an associate professor of English. “He inspired us to be the best at what we do, and his example will live on in all of us who knew him, as we both mourn his loss and honor his legacy.”


He won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1980 and in 1993 and was one of the first people to be inducted into the Tau Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Ursinus. Deeply committed to the transformative value of international education, Doughty served as codirector of the Ursinus in Tübingen program and was co-leader of the summer study in Japan program, as well as a visiting professor of history and English at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai, Japan.

He was the Ursinus campus coordinator of the Bucks and Montgomery County regional National History Day program since its inception in 1996, a program that was renamed in his honor in March of last year. Doughty served on the executive council of the Speaker’s House in Trappe; was the history department co-organizer of the Ursinus College Yom Hashoah (Holocaust remembrance) program; was the college representative for James Madison scholarships; and served as a reviewer for several history textbooks and manuscripts. Most recently, Ursinus honored Ross with the 2019 Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Educator Award for outstanding contributions in the field of education.

“I would not be the person and the academic I am today without Ross’s example to guide me and his generous, unwavering mentorship to support me,” said Susanna Throop, an associate professor and department chair of history. “I remember that when my first monograph came out, I gave him a copy. I learned from students and colleagues that he carried that book with him all day, to classes and meetings, showing it to everyone he encountered. I don’t have words for how tremendous his pride in me made me feel. Now, as I continue to grow as a leader, I think of Ross—his example, and his faith in me—virtually on a daily basis. He will always be with me, and I’m so grateful to have known him.”

A memorial service was held on Saturday, May 4, in Bomberger Hall. Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Hope Foundation or the S. Ross Doughty ’68 Endowed Scholarship at Ursinus College.