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Caveat Emptor

The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Monday, 4 February 2013

RIP Colin Tipton

I've just learned from the Guardian's obituary page that my old Surrey colleague Colin Tipton passed away in December after a long illness. He was one of that fast disappearing breed of academics in the social sciences who believed that teaching was an important part of the job, not something to be shuffled off to grad students or an inconvenience that got in the way of travel to foreign conferences. His course on Social and Economic history was always packed and students were inspired both by the depth of his knowledge and by his entertaining  approach to lecturing. Hidden behind his casual style was a deep understanding of how to communicate enthusiasm and love of a subject to  undergraduates some of whom were, to say the least,  ambivalent about studying. As his obituary makes clear he was  a delightful conversationalist and a committed member of the Socialist Workers Party, two attributes that aren't always found together, especially in Guildford. 
I still have fond memories of giving him a lift  to Oxford where he was  lecturing to some obscure left-wing group or other. His very funny stories  made the weary miles fly past.  My impression was that his sincere commitment did not prevent him viewing his political life with a degree of gentle ironic detachment that endeared him to everyone he came into contact with.

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