September 13, 2017
Ronald Schaffer received a PhD in History from Princeton in 1959 and came to what was then San Fernando State College in 1965. He taught US History at Northridge for almost 35 years, retiring at the end of Fall semester 1999. Dr. Schaffer was a popular instructor who won the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1978.
As a scholar, Dr. Schaffer is best known for his important 1985 book Wings of Judgement: American Strategic Bombing in World War II (Oxford University Press), a widely praised effort to examine the choices that American military planners made in the strategic bombing campaigns in the Second World War. He also published America and the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 1995), a study of the ways that US participation in the war contributed to the rising influence of the federal government in American life. Both of his books won CSUN’s Distinguished Scholarly Publication award. He also published numerous articles on American military history, and the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
Following his retirement, Dr. Schaffer served as the President of the Association of Retired Faculty at CSUN in 2003-4, and continued to be actively engaged in historical research.
Dr. John Broesamle, a longtime colleague and friend, notes "As a scholar and teacher, Ron asked big questions with a searching, skeptical eye. As a colleague, he had a dry wit that punctured pretentiousness. Ron never hesitated to hold the university to higher standards of academic governance and scholarly inquiry."