Leo Ribuffo, a longtime history professor, died unexpectedly Tuesday of an unknown cause. He was 73.
Ribuffo began teaching at GW in 1973 and spent much of his professional career working in the history department. He taught courses on conservatism and American presidencies during his tenure and, this semester, was teaching an undergraduate class on U.S. History since 1945 and a graduate seminar on Readings and Research in U.S. History. He was scheduled to teach two classes in the spring.
Ribuffo’s colleagues and former students said he was one of the history department’s “pillars” and will be remembered for his sense of humor, bright intellect and genuine passion for students and history.
In his most recent Facebook post, dated Oct. 29, Ribuffo recounted appearing “as a walking/talking bit of material culture” for a guest lecture he recently hosted. He can be seen wearing an outfit that would have been considered “college cool” in the early 1960s: tan chinos, a lemon yellow shirt and an original pin from the 1967 March on the Pentagon.
Ribuffo grew up in Bergen County, N.J. and received a bachelor’s degree in history from Rutgers University in 1966 and a doctorate in American studies from Yale University in 1972. He taught history at Bucknell University and Yale University before coming to GW, faculty said. ...