Physics Professor Jack H. Waggoner Dies

The Harvey Mudd College community mourns the passing of Jack Holmes Waggoner, a longtime physics professor and emeritus faculty member at Harvey Mudd College. He died Saturday, July 2.

Waggoner was born in 1929 and was a native of Ohio. He completed his B.S. (1949) and PhD at Ohio State University (1957). He taught from 1959 to 1961 at the University of California, Riverside, and then was hired to join the Harvey Mudd College faculty as an assistant professor of physics in 1961. Upon receiving tenure and promotion in 1965, Waggoner wrote to President Joe Platt that “Working at the College has been both a pleasure and an inspiration—I do indeed look forward to growing with it.”

Jack H Waggoner discusses work with a student.Waggoner taught a variety of courses in physics, including Electromagnetic Waves and Optics, Theoretical Mechanics, and a number of laboratory courses. He spent his first sabbatical in 1967–1968 as a visiting associate professor at Caltech, where he studied theoretical physics and observed the Caltech undergraduate physics program. Waggoner retired from Harvey Mudd in 1994 after 33 years on the faculty.

Waggoner enjoyed target shooting and archery, collecting model cars, and reading biography and history. He assembled an extensive personal library of books on many subjects. He built his own “hi-fi” system so that he could listen to classical music. His wife, Anne, who regularly attended department and college events with Waggoner, died in 2013. They had no children. He is survived by his brother Chandler Waggoner, who lives in Indiana.

“Jack was a gentle, friendly man and an important part of the development of our physics program—he will be missed,” said Jeff Groves, vice president and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty.