Stephen Dow Beckham
February 09, 2018
Stephen Dow Beckham taught college students for 42 years, retiring in 2011 as the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professor of History after 34 years at Lewis & Clark College.
Steve came to Lewis & Clark in 1977 to help the college build a curriculum on its name and location. In addition to American history, he taught many courses on the history of the Pacific Northwest. Honored as Oregon Professor of the Year in 1994, the following year he received the Asher Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Historical Association.
Steve has been the heart and soul behind preserving the college’s history and telling its story. In honor of the college’s 125th anniversary, he researched and authored the nationally recognized and CASE Award-winning Lewis & Clark College. The following year, he traveled to over 10 alumni gatherings around the country to recount the institution’s history.
During the college’s four-year bicentennial commemoration of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Steve served as volunteer chair of the planning committee, wrote essays for Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: An Annotated Bibliography, and played a key role in planning the exhibit that graced museums around the country. He attended many of the exhibit’s openings, lecturing on both the content and the provenance of its materials. For the final event of the bicentennial commemoration, Steve helped secure a $330,000 grant and developed content for a 13-hour NPR program called “Unfinished Journey: The Lewis and Clark Expedition.”
Most recently, Steve authored Fortune and Friendship: Lewis & Clark’s Heritage Properties, telling the histories of the Frank, Corbett, and Cooley Estates.
Steve and his wife, Patti, have resided in Lake Oswego for the past 40 years. They have two children, both graduates of Lewis & Clark, and six grandchildren.