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Emeritus history professor dies

by Sherry Fisher - June 2, 2008

A. William Hoglund, professor emeritus of history, died May 1. He was 81.

A resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Hoglund joined the University faculty in 1961 and retired in 1997. His was an expert on agricultural and immigration history.

Hoglund “built and nurtured the graduate program in history in its first couple of decades to a level of national recognition,” says Thomas Paterson, emeritus professor of history.

He was also an exemplary teacher with an impressive mastery of his field, Paterson says.

“He was a very effective mentor of graduate students and young professors. He had great energy in the classroom and was a spirited lecturer.”

Paterson says Hoglund was a “very kind, generous person,” with an “eccentric sense of humor.”

Edmund Wehrle, emeritus professor of history, describes Hoglund as “selfless, tireless, and generous. He’ll be remembered for his unremitting work with doctoral students. He was dedicated to them and directed their dissertations, many of which have become books.”

Michael Donoghue, a former student, says Hoglund was a “great teacher and influence on my life. His graduate seminar was a tour de force.”

Now an assistant professor of history at Marquette University, Donoghue recalls Hoglund saying, “My students are my family.”

Hoglund grew up in Spencer-Van Etten, a Finnish American community in upstate New York.

He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University in 1949, and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1950 and 1957, respectively.

While working on his Ph.D., he was drafted and spent four years in the army. He taught at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio from 1957 to 1961.

Hoglund curated the 1992 Library of Congress exhibition Bearers of the Word: Finnish Immigrant Literature in America 1976-1992, which highlighted the Finnish literary tradition in the U.S.

During spring 1998, he was the Government of Finland and David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professor of Finnish Studies at the University of Minnesota.

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