Robert E. Bonner, Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of History and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus at Carleton is recognized as an outstanding scholar and historian of Wyoming and the American West. He received a B.A. (1961) degree in History and American Studies from the University of Wyoming. He received an M.A. at Oregon in European history and his Ph.D. in English history at the University of Minnesota.
Raised in Powell, Wyoming, Bonner began teaching at Carleton in 1967, and retired in 2001. Having taught European and English history until the early 90s, Professor Bonner inaugurated the study at Carleton of the History of the American West, the History of American Indians, and American Environmental History during the 90s. From 1992 to 1995 he served as Carleton’s Dean of Students, and from 1997 to 2001, he served as the Director of the American Studies Program. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Laura Baker Services Association for 23 years.
Since 1999 he has written three books and six journal articles dealing with the history of Wyoming. His 2007 book, William F. Cody’s Wyoming Empire; the Buffalo Bill Nobody Knows, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, was awarded top honors by the Wyoming State Historical Society in 2008; it was also a finalist for the 2008 Spur award in historical non-fiction from the Western Writers of America and for the 2008 award in biography from the Society of Midland Authors. The Wyoming State Historical Society honored his 2008 book, Home in the Valley, in 2009. He was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, the University’s highest award, from his alma mater, the University of Wyoming, during that institution’s commencement on May 7, 2011.
“Bonner’s life and career reflect the culture of Wyoming at its very best,” says William Moore, University of Wyoming professor emeritus of history. “I am especially struck by his appreciation of learning; his passion for teaching; his quiet, personal integrity and his love of family and community.”