Memories of Professor Blodgett

I write to celebrate the life and scholarship of Geoffrey Blodgett. It was my good fortune to take his Social History of American Architecture in the spring of 2000 before he retired. Like my classmates, I went to each session rapt with anticipation, and his teaching never failed to exceed my expectations. Mr. Blodgett was the most eloquent lecturer I've ever heard. He honed his lectures to perfection over the years and tirelessly kept them updated. His perceptiveness and narrative ability were priceless, and I still find myself quoting him, both in academic settings and in conversation with friends. He illustrated points with unforgettable imagery, often delivering it subtly, jingling his keys in his pocket. I especially liked the way he described the attempts of hotel chains to use architecture to transplant a sense of place and make you feel like "you've been there before, somewhere else." When I was a freshman, before I ever took a class with him, he took the time to lend his expertise to a research paper I was writing about the history of Stevenson Hall. Later, he got me passionately interested in a topic I had previously found painfully boring--the Gilded Age. I saw him a few weeks before he died, and the simple "thank you" I said felt rather insufficient to express my gratitude for the friendship and patient interest he extended both to me as a wide-eyed sophomore and to the rest of his 40 years' worth of students.
Hans Petersen '02
Oberlin, Ohio

It was with profound sadness that I read about the death of Geoffrey Blodgett. Mr. Blodgett was a tremendous, inspirational teacher. I will never forget his classes in American intellectual history and his passion for architectural history. In class he had total mastery of the subject and conveyed his knowledge with great insight, style, and fervor. Outside class he was a wonderful, understanding advisor to me. I am very grateful to Mr. Blodgett for his luminous example of what a college professor should be.
Mike Kearns '73
Chicago, Illinois

back to top