Mark T. Scholz (1955-2004)

Lisa Mighetto, April 2004

Born in 1955, Mark T. Scholz was a French historian by training. He studied with David H. Pinkney at the University of Washington, where he received his PhD in 1993. Scholz served as an undergraduate advisor while writing his dissertation, “Paternalism and the Construction of Cités Ouvrières in France, 1848–1914.”

Scholz’s academic career demonstrated remarkable persistence and determination. A quintessential “gypsy professor,” he held a number of temporary teaching positions at various institutions, including Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Pacific University, North Seattle Community College, and City University, before obtaining a permanent position at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1996. So noteworthy were Mark’s experiences as an itinerant professor that the Chronicle of Higher Education profiled his career in an article describing the challenges facing PhD historians during the last decade (June 6, 2003).

Scholz quickly received tenure at Grays Harbor College, where he taught courses in western civilization and modern Europe. He won the Teacher of the Year award twice, and his students and colleagues described him as an unusually dedicated and enthusiastic instructor. “He always remembered who you were and was always interested in what you were doing with your future,” recalled one student, who portrayed Scholz as “a true motivator.” Another student reported that “Dr. Scholz … was the first person I had ever met who listened to my opinions” and “respected my intelligence.”

At the memorial service at Grays Harbor College on February 14, 2004, friends and colleagues remembered that Scholz reveled in the life of the mind. At the same time, he remained unpretentious and non-materialistic, serving as an inspiration in an era where budget cuts and competition for salary and positions can produce discouragement and cynicism.

Mark Scholz is survived by his wife, Diane Muir of Grays Harbor, Washington, and his mother, Jean Scholz of Eugene, Oregon. He will be sorely missed by his family and his countless friends and colleagues.

—Lisa Mighetto
Historical Research Associates, Seattle