Teacher, scholar and friend
are just a few words that describe Professor James F. Maclear. He
began his career at UMD in 1947, after completing his undergraduate
and graduate degrees at the University of Chicago, and retired from
full-time teaching in 1993. For many students, especially the most
talented, he was the memorable professor of their college careerindeed
the very model of what a professor should be.
When Berkeley law Professor Emeritus John Jack Coons
learned of Maclears final illness, he flew from California
to Illinois to see his former mentor. Jacks trip was a real
tribute to Maclears outstanding teaching and his ability to
inspire and encourage students to pursue their dreams.
Another former student, Dr. Susan Nygaard, now an English teacher
at the Marshall School in Duluth, knew from the first day of her
first course with Maclear that she had found exactly
what she was looking for in a history professor: a massive,
monumental intelligence, possessed of a quiet (yet often delightfully
wicked) sense of humor. Nygaard carries with her much of what
she learned from Maclear, and teaches with the memory of his example.
She writes I am blessed to have had such a model to look up
to, for I will never be without a goal to work towards and a sure
standard against which to measure my promise.
Maclear, with his information packed lectures and his wit and humor,
sparked the intellectual curiosity of students. In addition to his
outstanding performance in the classroom. Maclear served on many
important committees and projects and was known for his wisdom and
good advice. His teaching and service was recognized (despite his
profound reluctance to be a candidate for UMD awards) with the following:
Outstanding Faculty Award (1975), the Albert Tezla Scholar-Teacher
Award (1988) and the Chancellors Award for Distinguished Service
Maclear was a distinguished scholar who did research for the sheer
joy of discovery. He never made a show of his scholarly accomplishments,
but those acquainted with the fields of church and intellectual
history realize that his highly original articles appeared in such
leading journals as Church History, William and Mary Quarterly,
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, the Journal of the History
of Ideas, and the New England Quarterly. It must be noted that Maclears
research on Puritanism was widely respected and that a survey of
the historical literature done by Michael McGiffert, a scholar with
an international reputation, devoted much attention to Maclears
significant contributions. In 1995 Oxford University Press published
a major reference work that Maclear edited, Church and State in
the Modern Age: A Documentary History. At the time of his death,
he was completing an ambitious project on British Dissent and The
American Churches, 1783-1865. This massive, path-breaking manuscript
needs to be completed and made available to the scholarly community.
It will add significantly to his already impressive legacy.
Maclear is missed by his many friends and colleagues. Outgoing,
with a gift of conversation, he was a wonderful and caring friend.
Given his contribution to the intellectual life of the Duluth campus,
it is most appropriate to remember and honor this outstanding teacher
and scholar with the J.F Maclear Memorial Lecture Series.
by Neil Storch, Professor of History. Storch was Maclears
longtime colleague and friend.