Penn People

Robert Francis Engs

1943 - 2013

Penn Connection

  • Faculty 1972 - c. 2010
  • Professor Emeritus of History 2010

Robert Francis Engs was born in 1943. After earning a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University in 1965, Engs received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 1972. While at Princeton University he participated in founding of the Princeton Summer Studies Program, an intensive college preparatory program for minority and disadvantaged New Jersey public high school students, which became the model for the Upward Bound programs of the late 1960s.

Dr. Engs began his career at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 when he was appointed Assistant Professor of History. A year after joining the faculty, Provost Stellar appointed him as the director for Minority Faculty Recruitment. He went on to play a distinct role in enhancing the presence of minorities in both faculty and student body at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1979 Engs was promoted to Associate Professor. In addition to his teaching assignments, Engs was actively involved the Department of History administration. Dr. Engs served as chair of the undergraduate program from 1987 to 1992 and again in 2000 as well as director of the American History Honors Seminar. His areas of concentration in teaching were African American History, Civil War and Reconstruction, and History of the United States South. From 2008-2010, Dr. Engs taught courses at The College of William and Mary as the Visiting J.P. Harrison Professor of History, where he worked on the Lemon Project, which revisits the school’s history with the institution of slavery. Engs became Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Dr. Engs passed away on January 14, 2013, at age 69.