Gale Stokes, the Mary Gibbs Stokes Professor Emeritus of History and a former dean of the School of Humanities, died unexpectedly Nov. 4. He was 79.
In an email to faculty of the School of Humanities, Dean Nicolas Shumway said, “Although Gale retired in 2005 after 37 years of extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service to Rice, he was still actively pursuing his scholarship and had a continuing presence on campus. He is remembered for his service as dean of the School of Humanities from 2000 to 2003. A former captain in the U.S. Air Force, Gale ran a tight school and was always fair and decisive. He was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Humanities Building and the renovations to Rayzor and Herring halls. He will most certainly be missed.”
In 1968 Stokes came to Rice, where he specialized in the history of Eastern Europe, Balkan history and nationalism. In addition to serving as dean of Humanities, he was chair of the History Department from 1980 to 1982 and 1997 to 2000.
He received his doctorate from Indiana University, where he earned the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Russian and East European Institute in 1995. He authored more than 40 articles and eight books, including “From Stalinism to Pluralism: A Documentary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945,” “The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe,” “Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe” and “The West Transformed.” He received the 1994 Vucinich Prize for the best book in the field of Russian, Eurasian and East European studies from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.
Stokes was the recipient of numerous awards and grants over the years. He was honored three times at Rice with the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.
Provost George McLendon informed the Rice community that a memorial service will be held at the Rice Chapel at 4 p.m. Dec. 2, with a reception afterward at Brochstein Pavilion. He noted that because Stokes loved the arts on the Rice campus, the family has suggested that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Rice Gallery in Stokes’ memory.