Child pages
  • John T. Cunningham
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

John T. Cunningham (June 26, 1915 – June 7, 2012) was a member of the CLA class of 1938, but he will be best remembered at Drew's storyteller: the author of University in the Forest, the engaging and encyclopedic history of Drew University.

Called "New Jersey's popular historian" by the New Jersey Historical Commission, Cunningham authored more than 50 books and 20 documentary films. He was also responsible for creating a fourth-grade curriculum in New Jersey history.

At Cunningham's memorial, a friend, Dick Floersheimer, said:

“John Cunningham had a passionate love affair with New Jersey --- its history, its image, its people, its properties great and small, and its unique character. He would defend the state of New Jersey with all his might and against all detractors. . .

He wrote like a reporter covering a story, which is exactly what he was. He wrote with rare clarity, wit, sagacity, charm, occasional sarcasm, and above all, with humor.”

-- quoted in Kevin Coughlin, "John T. Cunningham: A rascal who left us better than he found us,"Morristown Green, June 16, 2012,

Drew honored Cunningham with three alumni achievement awards: the Award in the Arts in 1955, the Service Award in 1980 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Drew also gave him an honorary degree in 1976 and made him the first alumnus to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He, in turn, was a loyal, lifelong member of the Drew family and a link to the earliest days of the college.

The first edition of Cunningham's history of Drew came out in 1972; the current edition in 2002. All aficionados and historians of Drew are indebted to his work.

  • No labels