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Memorial service for John Walker Briggs to be held March 21
John Walker Briggs of Syracuse, professor emeritus of history and education in the School of Education and The College of Arts and Sciences, died Feb. 10. He was 74.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, March 21, at 5 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. A gathering will follow in the chapel’s Noble Room. Parking is available in the Irving Garage.
Briggs earned a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from Hobart College, a master’s degree in education and history from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota. He was an expert in the social history of immigration, and served as a research assistant at the Center for Immigration Studies at the University of Minnesota and a research specialist for a federal research project on immigration, education and social change.
He served as an assistant professor of education and history at the University of Rochester from 1970-78. In 1978, he published “An Italian Passage: Immigrants to Three American Cities, 1890-1930” (Yale University Press) and was a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1978-79.
Briggs joined the Syracuse University faculty in 1978 as an associate professor of history and education. He served as chair of the Department of Cultural Foundations of Education from 2002-07 and coordinator of the Social Studies Education Program from 1992-2007.
He was research historian for the Rhode Island School of Design exhibition “The Tirrochi Collection and Project” in 2002. He received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to work on rural school consolidation, part of his long-term research interest in rural educational history. He also did extensive research on school consolidation in Chazy in northern New York. He was active throughout his career as an advisor, lecturer, author and reviewer of professional articles and publications on immigration.
Briggs is survived by his wife, Kathie; daughter Marissa (Arthur Fuchs) and grandchildren Arthur, Adele and Adam, of Buffalo; daughter Vania Briggs Kasper (John Kasper) and grandchildren Sophia and Raymond, of Brooklyn; daughter Kiersten King (David Blackett) of Syracuse; son Nicholas King of Syracuse; sister Nancy Briggs Rider (Christopher) of Livonia, N.Y., and several nieces and cousins.