tracking pixel
News and Events

Professor Emeritus Richard Geiger, 1935-2016

group of people

Richard Geiger, second from left, received the prestigious McMullen Award in 2012.

August 2016


Professor Emeritus Richard Geiger, who taught in the St. Ambrose History Department for 39 years, passed away Sunday evening, August 7, in Davenport.

Richard Geiger first stepped in front of a St. Ambrose classroom on Sept. 10, 1962. He retired in May 2001, after teaching history to thousands of students, many of whom remember him as a scholar, mentor and friend. Among the tributes past students offered when he retired were comments praising Richard's "genuine humanity" and his devotion to being "a true scholar" of history.

Born in Quincy, Illinois in 1935, Richard obtained his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1957 and a master of arts in history from the University of Illinois in 1960. He coordinated the St. Ambrose centennial celebration in 1982, served on numerous committees and chaired both the History Department and the Faculty Assembly. He was a member of the American Historical Association and the Association of University Professors.

As the second faculty member to occupy the Baecke Chair for the Humanities, he toured Europe on sabbatical in 1984-85 to enhance his understanding of medieval history. In December 1998, he presented the Winter Commencement address. He was recognized with a McMullen Award, one of the University's highest honors, in 2012.

Richard frequently played the clarinet in campus concerts and regularly supported the fine arts at St. Ambrose. He was an enthusiastic audience member at art, theatre, music, and even sports events. He brought a well-rounded worldview to the classroom. "The study of history is not just past politics," he said. "It encompasses economics, art and sociology. I try to bring that to my classes."

Richard's lasting influence on his St. Ambrose students, colleagues and friends is evidenced by the Richard E. Geiger Endowed History Lecture. Funded through donations from former students and others, the creation of the endowed lectureship in his honor was a surprise announcement to Richard at his retirement dinner.

Funeral services and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, August 11, at Christ the King Chapel. Visitation will be held at the Chapel on Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 12, at Calvary Cemetery, Quincy.

Richard was a member of the St. Ambrose President's Club and Heritage Society. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Richard E. Geiger History Lecture or to St. Ambrose Campus Ministry.

Richard is survived by his sister, Georgia Geiger, several nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. An obituary and condolences link is available here.

MORE LIKE THIS:College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty & Staff News/Achievements

More Headlines

Rss News OffSee All News Off

More Happenings

Rss Events OffSee All Events Off