Roland Marchand

"I recently read that a high ranking campus official (who I won't name) idenitified the major developments of our campus during the last decade to be the acquisition of the Sacramento Med Center and the building of the Rec Hall. I thought I saw another, very different, accomplishment. It was when one student suddenly looked up from a book, a lecture, an experiment and saw how something came together, or had an insight, or acquired a new skill. And, I would argue, that was the greatest event of the 1970's on this campus, that will be the greatest event of the 1980's, and htere is no limitation on the number of times it can happen. That event is what the university is all about, and we will not have accomplished our ultimate task until that precious moment is somehow materialized and placed at the heart of the university where it belongs."

Roland Marchand
Teaching Week, 1980


Roland Marchand

Charles Roland Marchand was born in Seattle in 1933. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Stanford University, graduating summa cum laude in 1955. After serving as a naval officer for three years, he returned to Stanford, where he completed his Ph.D. in history in 1964. In that same year, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis, specializing in 20th century United States History.

Professor Marchand's teaching skills are well known to the thousands of students and alumni who have taken his classes. "Roland was an extraordinarily dedicated and successful teacher," recalls UC Davis History professor Ted Margadant. "He wanted to engage the students in active learning."

UC Davis's Academic Senate honored Marchand with its Distinguished Teaching Award. He was also a national finalist for the American Historical Association's Mentorship Award, which honors outstanding graduate training. Although he was eligible for early retirement as early as 1991, Marchand continued to teach until the eve of his final hospitalization in the fall of 1997.

His devotion to teaching was also apparent in his role as co-direcor of the Area 3 History and Cultures Project, part of a state network of sites where K-12 teachers and university faculty join forces to explore ways of teaching history and the social sciences.

"He was serious about teaching and he found a like-minded community for that in his work with teachers," recalls Area 3 History and Cultures Project director Kathleen Medina. "He had a sense of humor in everything he did," she added. "He had a wonderful sparkle."

Roland in the classroom

Marc Richards, a UC Davis doctoral candidate in history, also worked closely with Marchand in the History and Cultures Project. "What was so marvelous about him," Richards noted, "was that he was never condescending. He felt that he could learn from the teachers just as much as they could learn from him -- he looked at them as colleagues."

Marchand was also an internationally acclaimed scholar. His book, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, established his international reputation as a leading scholar of the cultural role of business in 20th century United States. His last book, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business, was published posthumously by the UC Press in the spring of 1998.