Warren Lerner: Dead at 78

Historians in the News

Lerner, 78, died Dec. 3. He taught at Duke for 45 and was a leading history of Russia and Eastern Europe, ethnic relations in the region and on the history of socialism and communism.

The Department of History issued the following statements Tuesday:

“Warren Lerner was a distinguished scholar, a superb teacher, and a dedicated leader of the Duke history department, which he served as chair from 1985-1990. Lerner’s scholarship on the communist revolution was widely recognized. His undergraduate courses at Duke were legendary, attracting hundreds of students drawn to hear Lerner’s compelling lectures and bask in the warmth and humor of his personality. As leader of the department, he was always pushing for greater recognition of the quality of his faculty, often ‘dropping in’ at the dean’s office at the end of the day to promote the department’s agenda. (Allegedly, this led to the creation of an informal prize in the dean’s office for the best “Warren Lerner drop-by.”) Appreciated by students, university colleagues and departmental associates, Warren Lerner helped to make the Duke history department a leader. He will be sorely missed.

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