College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Robert "Bob" Cottrell Inducted into 2022 Hall of Honor

President Gayle Hutchinson presents Bob Cottrell with his Hall of Honor award.

Professor Emeritus Robert “Bob” Cottrell made a name for himself at Chico State as a prolific and well-regarded author, dedicated teacher, beloved colleague, and respected community member over the course of his 35-year campus career.

Cottrell joined the History Department in 1984, and his scholarship is remarkable in its breadth. Before his 2019 retirement, he had published 24 books, 75 scholarly articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and more than 300 book reviews. He has written books on the history of London, wildland firefighters, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, rock music, 1960s counterculture, and baseball.

His biography of the iconoclastic journalist Isidor Feinstein “I.F.” Stone, titled Izzy, received rave reviews after its original publication and is now being reissued as a new edition 15 years later. Another of his important works, Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union, was singled out by Choice and Booklist magazines as one of the best books of 2001.

Along with his prodigious publication output, Cottrell taught two dozen different history courses, and he was well known in the department for his willingness to step in and teach a class even if it was outside his main area of expertise. In addition, he was a long-serving member on multiple committees in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and he participated as a frequent presenter in summer institutes and other programs for teachers with the North State History-Social Science Project.

Early in his tenure, Cottrell coordinated the History Forum lecture series on campus and brought a number of the country’s leading historians to the University, including former history professor and presidential candidate George McGovern. The lecture series was one of the highlights of the academic year.

In the community, Cottrell was equally active, volunteering at homeless shelters and serving on the executive board of Congregation Beth Israel, including terms as president and vice president.

Cottrell was the first campus faculty member to be awarded the CSU systemwide Wang Family Excellence Award, and one of only two Chico State professors to earn it to date. He also received a Fulbright Award, and grants from the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Bob Cottrell personified the ideal professor—one who was an extraordinarily accomplished scholar, a dedicated and inspirational teacher, and a willing and effective contributor to the University and his community,” said Professor Emeritus and Hall of Honor member Dale Steiner.

— Excerpt written by Neesa Sonoquie, Chico State Today2022 Hall of Honor Inductees, May 23, 2022. Photo by Jason Halley, University photographer.