Wooster mourns the passing of emeritus professor of history, John M. Gates

John M. Gates, emeritus professor of history

John M. Gates, emeritus professor of history at The College of Wooster, passed away on July 11, 2021, at age 83. Gates served as a professor of history, focusing on military history, for 35 years until his retirement in 2002. He was a dedicated teacher who valued honesty and strong opinions, never shying away from controversy or debate. Gates often posed insightful questions and his humorous commentary made his rigorous classes popular amongst students. He enjoyed working with students, especially as an Independent Study advisor.

Gates wrote several publications throughout his career such as Schoolbooks and Krags: The U. S. Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902 and The U.S. Army and Irregular Warfare. He helped produce the book Wooster in 1876, which contained over 150 illustrations and was selected as the “Outstanding Publication of the Year” by the Western Reserve Chapter of the American Architectural Association. Gates also wrote over 20 articles and book chapters, including “The Philippines and Vietnam: Another False Analogy” and “Toward a History of Revolution.”

During his time at Wooster, and even after retiring, Gates always enjoyed traveling. He traveled to West Point, New York to serve as a visiting scholar at The United States Military Academy and traveled to New Zealand as a Fulbright visiting professor. He also took sabbatical leaves to England and Latin America for research. Outside of work, he took trips to Europe, Japan, and Mexico, along with visiting the African safari.

Gates was always a jovial presence at social gatherings and enjoyed being in the company of family, friends, and colleagues. His full obituary, published in The Daily Record, notes that he “dedicated his life to teaching,” including donating his body to the Cleveland Clinic for medical education.

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