Nosratollah “Nas” Rassekh
February 09, 2015
Friends of Lewis & Clark Remembered
Nosratollah “Nas” Rassekh, professor emeritus of history, died of cancer on September 7, 2014, at age 89. Born in Teheran, Iran, Rassekh came to the United States by ship in 1944 as part of a small cohort of Persians sent abroad to study. He enrolled at Stanford University, where he completed a B.A. in political science in 1948, an M.A. in international relations in 1950, and a Ph.D. in history in 1960 with a focus on American intellectual history.
After serving as an instructor at Stanford, Rassekh joined Lewis & Clark in 1960. Over the next 31 years, he played a valuable role in the life of the college. After his retirement in 1991, he continued to teach summer school and graduate courses for more than a decade.
In his early years at Lewis & Clark, colleagues described him as a “pillar of strength” in the Western Civilization program, one of its “staunchest advocates and avid supporters.” Students found him to be “a sympathetic listener” as well as a knowledgeable and insightful scholar.
For many years, Rassekh served as chair of the history department. He encouraged colleagues to develop offerings in U.S. women’s history and black history in an era before their widespread adoption by other American colleges and universities. He also expanded the curriculum by developing his own courses in Middle East history and politics.
Two years after arriving at Lewis & Clark, Rassekh led a group of undergraduates to Mexico—one of the two programs that launched the college’s renowned overseas study program. He subsequently led overseas programs to Iran (1968) and Egypt (1984–85). In 2012, Nas and his wife, Mona, hosted a golden anniversary reunion for the Mexico cohort, who called themselves “El Groupo.”
Rassekh was a member of the Baha’i faith and contributed in significant ways to the Baha’i community at the local, national, and global levels.
Survivors include his wife, Mona; six of seven children; and seven grandchildren.