In Memoriam

Giovanni Costigan (1905-90)

Arther Ferrill, November 1990

Giovanni Costigan, professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Washington, Seattle, died on March 24. He was 85.

Dr. Costigan was a member of the faculty at the University of Washington from 1934 to 1975. He was born in England of Irish parentage, was graduated from Oxford University in 1926, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1930. He taught for a few years at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Idaho before assuming his position at the University of Washington.

Dr. Costigan's academic specialty was the history of England and Ireland. His publications include Sigmund Freud: A Short Biography (1965), Makers of Modern England (1967), and History of Modern Ireland (1969). It was as a teacher and humanitarian that Dr. Costigan gained great fame in the Seattle community. In 1970 he won the first Distinguished Teaching Award offered by the University of Washington, and in 1958 was honored as Man of the Year by B'nai B'rith in Seattle. In 1967 Lewis and Clark College awarded him an honorary degree.

An outspoken opponent of U.S. policy in Vietnam, he was once referred to by a Seattle Times reporter as a "combative man of peace." His mandatory retirement at the age of 70 caused public debate, and two years later the Washington state legislature passed a bill popularly known as the "Costigan bill" that permitted professors to teach past the age of 70 under extraordinary circumstances. In his later years, Dr. Costigan travelled widely around the world and gave many lectures for the U.W. Alumni Association.

Arther Ferrill
University of Washington