Gregory C. Kozlowski (1947-2002)

Douglas Howland and Warren Schultz, September 2002

Gregory C. Kozlowski, professor of history at DePaul University, died in Evanston, Illinois, on May 29, 2002, after suffering complications in the wake of heart surgery. A scholar of South Asian and Islamic history, Professor Kozlowski was an international authority on Muslim philanthropic endowments in both British India and modern Pakistan and India, an innovator in teaching the history of world civilizations, and a public figure speaking to the greater Chicago community on South Asian and Middle Eastern geopolitics and cultural relations.

After completing his BA in theology at Loyola University of Chicago in 1970, he began to cultivate a lifelong interest in the Muslim world, pursuing first an MA in the history of religions at the University of Iowa (1975), and then an MA (1978) and a PhD in history at the University of Minnesota, awarded in 1980. His dissertation was subsequently published as Muslim Endowments and Society in British India (Cambridge University Press, 1985).

His learning and expertise were as vast as his wit and conversation. Along with his concentration in the Urdu language, Gregory studied Persian, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Turkish. In his scholarship and teaching, he linked European philosophy and Christian theology with Muslim philosophy and theology, British colonial law with Muslim law, and English social and political history with that of South Asia and the Middle East. This breadth of learning informed his nearly one hundred published articles, conference papers, and encyclopedia and reference book entries—as well as his textbook, The Concise History of Islam and the Rise of Its Empires (Copley Press, 1991, 2000), and his unfinished book manuscript, "Muslim Philanthropy in the Modern World." He was a frequent guest on Chicago Tonight, the Chicago Public Television (WTTW) program of news and current affairs, and a frequent interviewee on a number of radio news and commentary programs, consulted for his expertise on conditions in Pakistan, India, and the Muslim world. In his public lectures to civic groups and community colleges, and during his 22 years of teaching at DePaul University, he fascinated audiences with his experiences, his insight, his stories, and the occasional ribald joke. Apart from these public performances, Gregory was a charming and eloquent epistolean, deeply rooted in the beauties of language and expression. His unexpected death leaves a void in the public life of Chicago, and in the lives of his devoted students and friends, his colleagues and family. The halls no longer resonate with his presence.

—Douglas Howland and Warren Schultz
DePaul University