Educator and philanthropist Jane Harbaugh dies at 90

Jane Worth Harbaugh, 90, an academic trailblazer and philanthropist who spent 44 years in teaching and leadership roles in Chattanooga, died Sunday.

Harbaugh joined the faculty at the University of Chattanooga (UC) in 1957. She then completed a post-doctorate program at Harvard University in East Asian Studies from 1961–1962, and by 1965 was named head of the history department at UC.

She became the first woman appointed as a dean at UC, was later named vice chancellor for academic affairs, and ultimately served as UTC’s associate provost for undergraduate and special programs until she retired in 2001.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Harbaugh earned her A.B. degree at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and then her A.M. and Ph.D., specializing in diplomatic history, Europe, and the Middle East, from Tufts’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

In 1956, Harbaugh was awarded a grant by the Rockefeller Foundation for post-doctorate studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Harbaugh is survived by her sister Charlotte Ann Caldwell; her nephew John Caldwell and his wife Peggy; niece Jane Burlingham and her husband Mark; nephew Kirby Caldwell and his wife Charlotte Carter Caldwell; nephew Richard and his wife Lisa Kitterman Caldwell; niece Leslie Caldwell Grills; and all of their children and grandchildren.

Mary and Larry Wagenblast, Harbaugh’s neighbors, managed her care over the past decade as she battled Parkinson’s disease.

Private funeral services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m., and will be broadcast from the Facebook page of Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist East Chapel at

Jane’s family requests a donation dedicated in her honor to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, the Public Education Foundation (PEF) Chattanooga, or The University of Chattanooga Foundation.

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