Grace R. Cockroft
Grace R. Cockroft, a four-decade professor of history, died in Saratoga Springs in 1962.
Although Grace had only her Pembroke bachelor’s degree, Skidmore School of Arts President Charles Henry Keyes hired her in 1916 to serve as an instructor of introductory courses. She earned her M.A. from Clark within a few years and later obtained her Ph.D. from Columbia University. As one of Skidmore’s most well-known professors in 1941, she joined a faculty panel on foreign policy and argued that the bungling of the peace arrangements after World War I had made America’s involvement in another European war perhaps inevitable. Just four days later, the Pearl Harbor attack led the US into World War II. In 1955, when Skidmore College President Henry T. Moore was planning to retire, Grace served as a faculty representative to the trustee’s search committee that brought in President Val Wilson in 1957.
Skidmore’s archives contain Grace’s 1956 biographical account of founder Lucy Skidmore Scribner, whom Grace had worked with for 20 years.
A professor for 45 years and chair of history department for 34, Grace was praised by a colleague as “one of the outstanding educational and civic leaders of the community.” Among the many graduates who have cited her mentorship, a ’44 alumna recalled her as “Miss Cockroft, the whiz of the history department. Her lectures were fast, furious, and fascinating.”
Grace’s survivors are unknown.