Scott L. Bills (1948-2001)
Lawrence S. Kaplan, February 2002
Scott L. Bills of Warren Wilson College died on October 13, 2001, at the age of 53. After receiving his BA at West Virginia University, Scott spent seven fruitful years at Kent State University, winning his MA and PhD in that period. Influenced by the troubled times at the university, he became involved in efforts to understand the tragic shootings at Kent State in 1970, editing and writing an influential study, Kent State/May 4: Echoes through a Decade (1982; rev. ed. 1988). His interest in peace studies led him into an active role as co-executive editor of Peace & Change, and then in 1999 as president of the Peace History Society. At the same time he was an active scholar in diplomatic history, producing papers and monographs on U.S. relations with the Third World, culminating in two significant books—Empire and Cold War: The Roots of U.S.-Third World Antagonism, 1945–47 (1990) and The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers (1995).
I will always be grateful for his initiative in organizing a Festschrift on my behalf, The Romance of History (1997), that he edited with a fellow former doctoral student, E. Timothy Smith. His most enduring impact derived from his role as teacher. From 1983 to 2001, he taught at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he was honored in 1999 by appointment as Regents Professor of History. At the time of his death, he had just taken a new position at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. The profession has lost an inspirational teacher and a talented scholar, and I have lost a valued friend. He leaves behind his wife Kris and his son Seth.
—Lawrence S. Kaplan
Kent State University