George B. Stow, Ph.D., a history professor at La Salle for a half-century, has died

February 24, 2023
George B. Stow, Ph.D., professor emeritus, longtime program director, and chair in the Department of History whose service to La Salle University exceeded 50 years, died earlier this month. All photos courtesy of University Archives.

The academic’s work in ancient and medieval history was renowned globally. 

George B. Stow, Ph.D., professor emeritus, longtime program director, and chair in the Department of History whose service to La Salle University exceeded 50 years, has died. He was 82. 

Stow’s career at La Salle began in 1972 as a specialist in ancient and medieval history. Over the next half-century, he instructed thousands of students while earning national and global recognition for his research work and proficiency in those subject areas. In particular, he earned election as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his expertise in ancient and medieval history. 

La Salle honored Stow as its 2003 recipient of the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching. 

“Quite honestly, I wondered if my teaching would ever warrant the Lindback Award,” Stow said in a 2015 interview archived in La Salle’s Digital Commons. “Anybody who says they don’t think about the possibility of receiving it just isn’t being truthful.” 

Stow, a research-active professor, frequently exhibited his expertise outside of the classroom. He published two books, 14 articles, and 23 book reviews, delivered 28 conference presentations, and co-authored what is considered one of the world’s top-selling world history textbooks. At La Salle, he co-founded a master’s program in history in 2004. Five years later in 2009, he helped launch a concentration in public history. That work preceded decades of administrative service to the Department of History. Of note, he served as its chair from 1981–1987 and also chaired the department’s evening division from 1980–1981. 

According to the aforementioned 2015 interview, Stow served three years in the U.S. Army following high school. He credited his military background for providing the discipline and reflection that he needed at that time in his life—and would ultimately guide him toward a career in education. 

Stow studied the classics at Lehigh University, where he received a bachelor of arts degree. He later completed a master of arts program in history at the University of Southern California and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois. 

Brother Michael McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D., ’70, remembered Stow as “an excellent teacher—demanding while also compassionate and understanding.” 

“George was a teacher, researcher, squash player, sports car enthusiast and owner, pet lover, and most importantly colleague, friend, and family man,” added Brother Mike, who directs La Salle’s Honors Program. “All of us who knew George Stow join his students present and past, in those feelings of respect and love and loss.” 

Kevin J. Harty, Ph.D., professor and chair of English, praised Stow for being “an outstanding teacher, a dedicated scholar, a model university citizen, and an engaged and engaging colleague. George was able to ask for great things from his students, because he asked for no less from himself.” 

Stuart Leibiger, Ph.D., professor and chair of history, recalled Stow as a mentor to younger faculty members in their department, a professor with “a sharp sense of humor” and “a brilliant medieval scholar.” 

—Christopher A. Vito