Gerald F. Moran, professor emeritus of history at UM-Dearborn, died of cancer in Ann Arbor on June 23. He was 79 years old.
He is survived by his wife, Anita Sherman, and three children and three stepchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Paula Moran, and his brother, William Moran, both of Providence, Rhode Island. Moran’s first wife, Marian, died in 2007.
“He was one of the great scholars and great humans on campus,” said long-time colleague Ronald Stockton, professor emeritus of political science at UM-Dearborn. “There was a depth to his classes and a creativity that few faculty achieved. His class on the Salem Witch Trials was legendary, combining empirical data with feminism, and warped theology with political brutality.”
Moran earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Providence College, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1974. He joined the UM-Dearborn faculty as an assistant professor in 1975, was promoted to associate professor in 1978 and to professor in 1985. He was named professor emeritus of history by the Board of Regents on his retirement in 2019.
Moran’s research focused on colonial American family history, the history of religion and the history of education and literacy. He wrote numerous articles and book chapters, and his work was published in a number of prestigious journals.
Leslie Tentler, professor emerita of history at the Catholic University of America, was a colleague of Moran’s for more than 20 years at UM-Dearborn.
“What I remember most is the early years, when we both had small children, and I was just amazed by Gerry’s commitment to scholarship in some very difficult circumstances,” Tentler said. “And, of course, he also was a wonderful teacher and was totally devoted to his students and their success.”
Moran taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses and was especially dedicated to the UM-Dearborn Honors Program and Cooperative Education Program.
He also served in numerous administrative roles, including chair of UM-Dearborn’s Department of Social Sciences, associate dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, and director of the Honors Program and of the Cooperative Education Program. He also chaired the campus’s Faculty Senate and served in numerous other committees at the departmental, college and university levels.
Moran received UM-Dearborn’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988 and 2005, and its Distinguished Service Award in 2004.
“Gerry was a man of rare conviction and courage,” said another colleague, Joe Lunn, professor of history at UM-Dearborn. “I will remember him jauntily heading to class, unwilling to disappoint his students, who adored him, while he was being infused with chemotherapy drugs in a pouch attached to his hip. I was filled with admiration for his profound personal commitment to teaching and his students.”
No funeral service is planned.