Rondo Cameron 1925-2001


Rondo Cameron, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus, died peacefully on New Year's morning, 2001, after a long illness. Tom Burns, who has been in residence at the University of Augsburg this year, composed the following tribute which was read at the memorial service in Cannon Chapel on January 20.

Rondo Cameron was a man of great passion and determination, whether it be in golf, tennis, or academics. He was among the first of the world-class scholars attracted to Emory. As my colleagues this year at the University of Augsburg, Germany, reflected upon Rondo and the year that he and Clay spent here as an exchange family, they spoke with one voice of his unique ability to connect complex details into large pictures of historical development. Like myself they asked, "who but Rondo would have dared to write an economic history of the WORLD in one volume? And who else could have done so with such insight and clarity?"

Here in Germany as in Atlanta, Rondo was always ready to give colleagues and students his counsel on economic issues that they may have previously thought were problems peculiar to their specialized fields. His patience in advising undergraduate joint history-economics majors was truly extraordinary. Graduate students too needed his special care, and until his retirement he never ceased to give them a hand, occasionally running bureaucratic obstacle courses on their behalf and at other times serving on their committees.

By no means, however, are all my recollections academic, indeed the most important ones are personal. "Rondoís Sunday Punch" was a legendary event back in the 70ís and early 80ís. It was a semi-formal event and probably was the only time that faculty and spouses from various departments actually met. Many interdisciplinary projects owed their origins to those free and often loud discussions that revolved around the punch bowl. Shortly before the second such occasion, our daughter was born. Getting a babysitter on a Sunday afternoon was no easier then than now. So we called Clay and Rondo with our apologies, but they said, "bring her along." The scene of our daughter, Clay Cameron, Blair Major, and from time to time Rondo and other friends, sitting on the floor playing with a five month old is forever etched in our book of most cherished memories. Behind his sometimes gruff exterior, Rondo had a very soft heart, and not only for toddlers.

Today we honor our departed friend and colleague, Rondo Cameron, for his passion for life, his dedication to scholarship and teaching, and his love of family and friends. May all his rounds be below par and his tennis swing find the smoothness that it never quite had on the courts at Druid Hills and Emory.