With regret and sadness, we note the passing of Marion Deshmukh on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Dr. Deshmukh was a giant at George Mason University whose broad impact on her field, her students, and campus was foundational.
She began her career at George Mason University in 1969. For 45 years she was a professor of German and European history and art history. She chaired the History and Art History Department for 12 years, successfully guiding its transformation from a small department focused on teaching to a large one that is nationally recognized for its research accomplishments. She also served in the cultural studies doctoral program.
In addition to being a transformational leader, she was a warm and supportive colleague and instructor who was deeply invested in the success of her students. Her outstanding teaching and leadership led to her recognition in 2013 as the Mason Faculty Member of the Year, an award that recognizes a distinguished faculty member who exemplifies a commitment to scholarship, teaching, and service. At the time of the award, Brian Platt, chair of Mason’s Department of History and Art History, noted that Deshmukh “relishes getting to know her students and seeing them grow intellectually. When speaking with alumni about their experience at Mason, they mention Dr. Deshmukh more than any other faculty member.”
She shaped the future of other scholars and students as well by both raising funds for their support and providing fellowship opportunities to students and scholars. She served as the faculty/staff chair for the Merten Campaign in 2012. She raised more than $5 million to support the Merten Scholars Endowment and she created a graduate fellowship in the History and Art History Department.
In addition, Deshmukh led a sustained, 20-year effort to successfully bring a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to Mason. Phi Beta Kappa is devoted to excellence in the liberal arts and the celebration of academic achievements. In the 2017-2018 year, 75 students in CHSS were inducted.
In 2010, Deshmukh was awarded George Mason’s first Robert T. Hawkes Professorship, an honor emphasizing extraordinary commitment to teaching. “It shows the department’s endorsement of Marion as a premier teacher,” said Jack Censer, former dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She is a university powerhouse and a treasure.” She also received the David J. King Teaching Award in 2011 and the Center for Global Education, Academic Excellence Award in 2014.
She received her BA summa cum laude from UCLA and her MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Her research and publications include works and exhibition catalogues on German art and politics, like her 2014 exhibit “Postcards from the Trenches: Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War.” Her latest publication is Max Liebermann: Modern Art and Modern Germany(2015), which is widely recognized as the definitive work on Libermann, a central figure in late-19thand early 20thcentury European art.
Her service to her field and the broader community of scholars is extensive. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received two German Academic Exchange Grants (DAAD), as well as a Fulbright grant, and grants from J. Paul Getty, the American Historical Association, and an Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany grant. She served on many board of editors of the German Studies Review and was on the academic advisory committee of the Max Liebermann Gesellschaft (Society), Berlin.
She ensured students and community members had opportunities to learn the German language and culture through her work with the Goethe-Institut (Washington, D.C.), including her time serving as chair of the board of the Friends of the Goethe-Institut and as Vice President of the Friends of the German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.).
Dr. Deshmukh made an indelible impact on the university. When she retired in 2015 the Department of History and Art History celebrated her life and work by establishing the Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Support Endowment. The fund is used to provide faculty members with the support they need to achieve their own scholarly goals while also funding collaborative research projects between faculty and students. This fund embodies the same collaborative spirit that Dr. Deshmukh cultivated so doggedly in her 45 year tenure at Mason. Please consider making a gift today to continue her legacy.
For more information
To make a gift to the Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Endowment, please visit the History and Art History Give page.
If you wish to mail a check, please issue it to "George Mason University Foundation, Inc." (memo: Marion Deshmukh Scholarship Endowment). Checks may be mailed to:
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, 3A3
Fairfax VA 22030-4422
For further details or questions, please contact Mark Hall, Senior Assistant Director of Development at (703) 993-5913 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The George Mason University Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3), EIN: 54-1603842. Your gift is tax deductible to the full extent allowed by the law.
Please consult your tax advisor for additional guidance.
April 15, 2019