I am saddened to inform you that Bernd Magnus, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, passed away on November 3, 2014, at the age of 76. He was a long-time member of UCR’s Philosophy Department, serving as its Chair from 1972 to 1976 and, again, from 1979 to 1983.
Born in Danzig, Germany, Prof. Magnus immigrated to the US in 1947, having survived the Holocaust as a child. After undergraduate studies at CCNY and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1967, he joined UCR in 1969, where he rose to Full Professor in 1974. Later he was appointed an Associate Dean in CHASS, served as senior advisor to several UCR Chancellors, especially Tomás Rivera, and was the founding Director of UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society.
Prof. Magnus was an internationally recognized expert on 19th/20th Century European Philosophy (“Continental Philosophy”) and, more specifically, a leading scholar of Friedrich Nietzsche. Besides publications on Marx, Heidegger, and various postmodern thinkers, he authored or co-authored two pioneering books on Nietzsche, co-edited the influential Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, served on the editorial board for the Complete Works of Nietzsche, and was the founder of the North American Nietzsche Society. He also received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for his research on Nietzsche.
Prof. Magnus was the driving force behind instituting a Ph.D. program in Philosophy at UCR; he also helped to turn its Philosophy Department into an internationally known center for European Philosophy. Over the years, the Department has attracted a large number of graduate students, many of whom remember him fondly for his energy, his generous support, and his influence on shaping their research interests. After his retirement, the Philosophy Department started the Magnus Lecture, which brings an internationally known philosopher to campus once a year to speak about Nietzsche or related topics.
Finally, “Bernie”, as he was known to his friends, was very enthusiastic about sports. Besides playing tennis, softball, and basketball himself, he owned season tickets for Anaheim Angels games for decades.
He is survived by his wife, Lore Woodcock Magnus, his children, David Magnus and Victoria Varnals, his grandsons, Tyler and Ryan Varnals, and his sister, Miriam Eis. The Philosophy Department plans to organize a memorial conference in honor of Prof. Magnus’s many contributions to UCR.
-Erich Reck, Philosophy Department Chair
You may view his Eulogy on the attached link.