Bob Simon, WF H ’64
Along with colleagues and fans around the world, WW mourns the loss of Bob Simon, who was an honorary 1964 Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He had the designation “honorary” because he chose to resign his Fellowship and enter the Foreign Service, rather than pursue his intended Ph.D. in history.
Those original Woodrow Wilson Fellowships cultivated generations of intellectual leaders, an apt description of Mr. Simon both then and throughout his career. In his Fellowship application, he wrote beautifully about his interest in history as the context for understanding the modern self and the contemporary world. He was fascinated with what he called the “vertical approach to history”—not the “horizontal” analysis of one aspect of society over a long period, but
…an intensive study of all the various components of a limited historical period; that is, a concerted attempt to discover the subtle interrelations among the politics, the economics, the literature, the philosophy, and the art of a specific moment in time. When this “depth” perspective is invoked, one must seek to disassociate oneself from the contemporary “climate of opinion” and to establish an empathic relation with the period under consideration.
Even in his early 20s, Bob Simon already had the kind of intellectual breadth that would make him the thoughtful, far-seeing, deeply respected journalist he became. His work at 60 Minutes helped to educate millions of weekly viewers about some of the world’s most complex and challenging issues. All of us at Woodrow Wilson are deeply saddened by his loss.