Our founding chair, Robert Stockwell, passed away October 28, 2012, following a long illness.
Bob was born June 12, 1925, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was educated at the University of Virginia, where he received a B.A. in English and Greek in 1946, an M.A. in English in 1949, and a Ph.D. in English Philology in 1952. He worked from 1952 to 1956 School of Languages of the Foreign Service Institute, where he developed highly effective pedagogical materials, grounded in linguistic theory, for the teaching of Spanish. Bob came to UCLA as an Assistant Professor in the English Department in 1956. He soon was marshaling the resources for an effective linguistics program: the Interdepartmental Program in linguistics was approved in 1960, followed by the Center for Research in Languages and Linguistics in 1963, and then full department status in 1966 — the same year Bob was promoted to Full Professor. For many years Bob served as the new department’s chair.
The department proved to be an intellectually very lively place, one to which strong faculty were readily attracted. With a number of important recruitments, the department rose in only a few years to scholarly eminence and thence to a very high national program ranking. Bob was also in the thick of the new department’s research activities, notably in his coauthorship of The Major Syntactic Structures of English (1973), with Paul Schachter and Barbara Partee, and also in his longstanding work (much of it with his colleague and later spouse Donka Minkova, UCLA English Department) on the history of English. As his health declined during the last few years we saw little of Bob, but the strong academic culture of the department he left behind has remained as an attestation of his work.
Here is a link to his webpage: http://linguistics.ucla.edu/people/stockwel/stockwel.htm