Charles H. Glatfelter ’46 , a longtime history professor and author of "A Salutary Influence: Gettysburg College, 1832 - 1985 2 vols.", a college history, passed away the evening of Feb. 6 after a brief illness. He was 88.
“Whenever I have a question about the history of Gettysburg College, I turn to Charles Glatfelter’s 2-volume tome, 'A Salutary Influence.' Although he modestly relegates a mention of himself to a footnote, there is no question that Charles Glatfelter was himself a salutary influence on Gettysburg College,” Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 said. “As alumnus, professor, historian, and administrator, he had extraordinary impact on the College and on generations of students, who will remember striving to meet his high standards for research and writing. Although we have lost an iconic member of our community, his legacy lives on.” Read more of the President's reaction on her blog.
Glatfelter graduated from Gettysburg College in 1946, and was a member of the faculty from 1949 until 1989. He served as Dean of the College, Chairman of the History Department, a Franklin Professor of History and was Professor Emeritus since 1989.
Glatfelter received the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1987 and authored a history of the college, "A Salutary Influence: Gettysburg College, 1832 - 1985 2 vols." in 1987. He also was a past President and Secretary of the Iota Chapter of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa.
“Charles Glatfelter and Gettysburg College were, as the saying goes, ‘perfect together.’ His association with the college as a student, professor, Dean, college historian and chair of more committees than can readily be counted ran for seven decades. Perhaps no one person aside from a college president or two affected the institution’s evolution more than did Charlie. Teaching lay at the heart of his legacy, perhaps most famously in his Historical Methods class. In that class he introduced students to the joy of discovery in original sources and emphasized the importance of taking care in presenting one’s findings. His exacting standards were legendary, but so was his concern for individual student needs and his mentorship of all who cared about their historical studies. He was never a sloganeer, but it would be fair to say that he lived ‘Gettysburg great,’” said Michael Birkner, Franklin Professor of the Liberal Arts, history prof., and college historian.
Read the full text of Birkner's eulogy.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 12 at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 30 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg, with his pastor the Rev. Stephen R. Herr officiating, assisted by Rev. Neil Hively. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tues. at Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Hanover Street, Glen Rock. Pa. Viewings will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sun. at the Geiple Funeral Home, Inc., 53 Main Street, Glen Rock and from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. Tues. at Christ Lutheran Church.
News of his passing prompted an outpouring from alumni. Comments from past history majors are below. Please add thoughts of your own in the comments section.
“If there was a Mt. Rushmore for iconic Gettysburg College faculty, Dr. Glatfelter would be one of the chiseled images on it,” Executive Director of Alumni Relations Joe Lynch ’85 said. “He was demanding but fair, feared but revered, exacting but always respected. If you were fortunate enough to get a good grade in his class, you felt as if you’d really earned it. He taught generations of Gettysburgians, and all became better scholars, writers and thinkers under his tutelage.”
“He was a great man and a special professor – a very influential man in my college education. I remember his voice and messages like I am sitting in Historical Methods right now,” Keith Fleming ’90 said.
“I am saddened by the news of Dr. Glatfelter. I remember Historical Methods in my freshman year as being an amazing eye-opener, and I have used the principles that I learned any number of times in later life,” Susan (Hilbinger) Shannon '69 said. “I also recall the kindness, encouragement and patience he showed to me as a member of his senior year seminar. I'm not an academic or an historian -- just have a life-long love of history that Dr. Glatfelter helped to instill.”
“As a history major and eventual doctor in counseling psychology, I give my highest accolades and applause to Dr. G. His Methods class served me so very well in my graduate studies and later research. He will be missed. He also set a high standard for the future development of Gettysburg College,” Dr. John F. Kegley ’66 said.
“I'll say a prayer for his family. I still think about Methods every time I read a footnote! I wasn't that crazy about the course when I took it, but have appreciated it more and more as the years go by,” said Tim Golden ’81.
The news of Glatfelter’s passing spread quickly throughout the local community, including news outlets. Read his full obituary and articles celebrating his life at the links below.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Adams County Historical Society, 111 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, Pa. 17325 or to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 44 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg, Pa. 17325.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803