Gary Kessler of Bellingham, Wash., died Oct. 9, 2018.
Letter from Lynnette Zelezny, President, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB)
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is with a profound sense of loss that I inform the CSUB community that Dr. Gary Kessler, a founding faculty member in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, passed away on Oct. 9.
Dr. Kessler served three terms as Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He also served three terms on the Academic Senate, was twice Chair of the Senate Curriculum Policy Committee, and served on a statewide task force for the CSU Academic Senate on “The Roles, Responsibilities, Resources, and Rewards for Department Chairs.”
Dr. Kessler served for many years as a General Education fellow, playing an instrumental role in developing the original General Education Program and the original Sophomore Seminars. He was chair of the CSUB CFA Chapter, serving three terms as an advocate for faculty rights. Dr. Kessler was strongly committed to curricular innovations. He developed a course on “Native American Religions” and developed an internationally known Philosophy of Religion text titled, Philosophy of Religion: Toward a Global Perspective. This book contained superb original source materials, excellent textual commentaries and interpretation, helpful student aids and a truly multicultural emphasis as well as international and cross-cultural breadth. He also produced an Introduction to Philosophy text, Voices of Wisdom, which soon became one of the leading introductory
books on philosophy, reaching six editions. He also published a text with McGraw Hill, Studying Religion: An Introduction through Cases.
In addition, Gary was a very active scholar and was granted a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in 1998. Students knew Dr. Kessler as a creative, challenging, fair and truly excellent teacher. He was also a mentor to many of his colleagues.
He is survived by his widow, Katy. In retirement, Gary and Katy moved to Bellingham, Washington, where he continued his research and writing until just a few months before his death.
Arrangements for a scholarship fund and for a service are pending.
Lynnette Zelezny, President, CSUB