Deceased February 10, 2023
Renowned educator Fred M. Newmann ’59, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, died peacefully on Feb. 10, 2023.
After Amherst, Fred taught high school history and social studies for several years, later earning his Ph.D. in education at Harvard, where he was instrumental in producing “Case Studies in U.S. History” that challenged high school students to develop reasoned arguments on public controversies.
At UW, Fred’s research focused on reforms that foster critical thinking and civic engagement. He directed national organizations aimed at restructuring secondary education and authored many research publications and books.
Fred was a lifelong outdoorsman, with fly-fishing, skiing and backpacking as core activities on family vacations with his first wife, Joy, and their children. An avid bluegrass fiddler, he teamed with his second wife, Carolyn, a banjo player, to form and manage a bluegrass band. Fred was a devoted volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and was passionate in efforts to elect progressive Democratic candidates.
Until shortly before his death, Fred shepherded monthly Zoom sessions with two groups of Amherst classmates, most of whom had not kept up with Fred over the years. These “don’t-miss” events, which continue to this day, expand and deepen our friendships; educate us through a rich, varied group expertise; and include anecdotes, typically funny ones.
Getting to know and love Fred this way, 60-plus years after Amherst, made us wish that we had connected with him much earlier. He was remarkably caring and truly inspiring.
Lee Talner ’59