In Memoriam, Nancy Fitch


"Nancy was loved and admired by her students and colleagues alike, for the astonishing breadth of her knowledge and her commitment to diversity and social justice. She was a fighter with an indomitable spirit who gave generously of her time and talent to everyone who crossed her path. Nancy will be greatly missed."

Gayle Brunelle and Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall,  Perspectives on History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, March 2021.


Continuing Nancy's Legacy 

Nancy left an ever-lasting impression here at CSUF, and her passion for history, teaching, and the advancement of her students inspires us all. As one of a handful of women to be hired in the Department, Nancy understood that she was both breaking new ground and paving the way for the next generation of women historians at CSUF. In 2004, Nancy established the Nancy Fitch Women's History Award Endowment, which supports students with interests in women's history and/or gender studies. This award has funded over a dozen young scholars over the course of its lifespan and reminds us that the seeds Nancy planted during her tenure at CSUF continue to grow and flourish. It is our hope to build upon Nancy's legacy by increasing the endowment so that we can continue to provide an annual award to undergraduate and graduate students. If you would like to partner with us by making a recurring or one-time donation, please visit the endowment page. We thank you in advance for your contribution.


Send Us Your Memories

The Department of History invites you to publicly share your stories, thoughts, and remembrances of Nancy Fitch on this In Memoriam page. If you would like your special memory to be included, please share it via our submission form.


One of my very favorite memories of Nancy Fitch is an annual tradition that she, Lynn Sargeant, my wife Libby, and I were able to enjoy for a few years, namely, dressing up in masks and capes; sharing a meal somewhere in downtown L.A.; and then adjourning to the Disney Concert Hall for the showing of a historic silent movie (by directors like Robert Wiene, Friedrich Murnau, and Rupert Julian), accompanied by a live performance on the magnificent pipe organ of that venue. We always had an absolutely marvelous time. Thank you, Nancy, for making these wonderful memories with us!

Jochen Burgtorf


Dr. Fitch was one of my instructors when I started the Master's in History program at CSUF in Fall 2015. I always thought she was an incredibly kind and patient individual. Her love for history and teaching was always apparent. She left an incredible impression on me and so many others. Even though it has been years since I graduated from the program, I can still remember the faces of my fellow classmates as we all attended and embarked on our journey in HIST 501. I will always remember Dr. Fitch.

Diana Nguyen


I took a history class from Nancy in 1986. In 1997 I returned on faculty, and in 2005 we were colleagues on the Senate together. The change in relationship was always seamless because the way Nancy treated others was seamless. She was an amazing professional and a powerful colleague. She never stopped pushing issues and she never stopped asking questions. My life is richer for her and the campus is more hollow for her absence.

Jon Bruschke


I was moved to tears finding this post on the department page. Dr. Fitch was a beacon of light on the CSUF campus that drove her students to strive the best and engaged intellectual discussion with an open heart. As a high school history teacher I strive to cultivate the warmth Dr. Fitch easily facilitated in all of her classes. Dr. Fitch created a classroom community which is of the utmost importance in a period where we have felt so separated from each other. I can never thank her enough for the encouragement and positivity.

Andrea Takahashi DeAntonio


Nancy was one of my mentors and friends on the Academic Senate and she helped me learn about the campus and how shared governance works. I'll never forget her optimism and belief that we can collaborate to solve almost anything. I served with Nancy on the Senate Executive Committee many times and it's hard to think of the Senate without her. When I was Chair a few years ago, I knew that if the debate on an issue was stalling or we haven't quite explored everything we probably should with an issue that I could call on Senator Fitch and she'd get people thinking about things in news ways. Although most of my interactions with Nancy were with the Senate, we occasionally talked about scholarship and research. She was truly amazing and a trailblazer as a scholar. There's so much to say but I think it all boils down to the fact that Nancy was truly one of best and most interesting colleagues and people I've ever met.

Stephen J Stambough


There are many things that I miss about Nancy: her cheery voice, infectious laughter, easy smile, twinkle in her eye. She was generous in all things like giving her time and hosting get togethers in her home. She had an adventurous and creative spirit that found expression in her zest for life and commitment to lifelong learning. It is impossible to put in to words all that Nancy was and what she meant to me. All I can say is that my life and the world -- is all the better because Nancy was a part of it.

Lisa Tran


Nancy was one of the most vibrant, loving, generous people I have known. She had a wondrously encouraging smile that brightened up the world. More than anyone I've known, Nancy truly embraced other people's ideas; she fully appreciated a wide range of people, inspiring them to deeper realms of thought and feeling. She had a true spark of understanding and was a bringer of epiphanies. I think of Nancy's sparkling, bumptious laughter at her memorable holiday parties. I admire her embrace of adventure--her courageous skydiving, bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain climbing. I'm inspired by her love of language and travel, her stories about her cats, her research in obscure archives in France and Brazil, her unmatched devotion to Cal State Fullerton, to consideration for her friends and her focus on writing, scholarship, and publication up to the days before her death. What a brave, loving, inspiring, and forgettable friend you have been and remain, my dear Nancy Fitch!

Michael Steiner