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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Political Science Professor Emeritus Jon Ebeling

Jon Ebeling
Jessica Bartlett/University Phot

Jon Ebeling is photographed on campus on Friday, September 25, 2020 in Chico, Calif. (Jessica Bartlett/University Photographer/CSU, Chico)

Professor Emeritus Jon Ebeling, who taught political science for more than 30 years, passed away July 25. He was 83.

Born September 23, 1938, in Queens, New York, he grew up in Southern California and after graduating from Santa Monica High School in 1956, he worked for Hughes Aircraft for a few years before taking classes at Santa Monica College. He graduated from San José State College in 1962 with a BA in history and joined the Peace Corps, spending two years in rural Ethiopia teaching high school and working on various projects.

When Ebeling returned to the United States in 1964, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed his master’s in African history. He returned to Ethiopia for two years to work as a Peace Corps staff member before moving to Pennsylvania to enter a PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, ultimately earning his doctorate in economic and social development in 1974.

Ebeling was hired as a faculty member at Chico State in 1971, teaching statistics and other courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Political Science Department. 

Political Science Professor Emeritus Irv Schiffman recalls that upon Ebeling’s arrival on campus, he immediately enhanced the course offerings of the department in the graduate and undergraduate programs. He also played a critical role in the public administration program, particularly with his important and popular public finance courses.  

“Jon’s students profited greatly from his teaching and advising and many of them told me so personally. Indeed, former students visited him long after he retired to let him know how much he contributed to their lives and careers,” he said. “Jon encouraged his students to partake in government service and the importance of giving back to one’s community.”

Now retired after many years working in local government, George “Scott” Tandy (MPA, ’73) still credits Ebeling for his career path. It all began during his first class with him in fall 1971, where he inspired Tandy with tales of East Africa and his sentiments on the value of public service, and continued decades later when Tandy sought him out for advice prior to an interview for a chief administrator role.

“In retrospect, having him as a professor changed the course of my thinking and was a springboard to my own career in county government,” Tandy said. “He taught me the importance of relationships and the value of an internship to gain hands-on experience. It was my great pleasure to reconnect with him these past years.”

After Ebeling founded the firm Regional and Economic Sciences, he and his wife, retired economics professor Frederica Shockley, worked as consultants for state and local government.

Ebeling retired from Chico State in 1998 but continued teaching courses for more than a decade. For several semesters, he taught the terminal course for completion of the economics degree, Economics 495, as well as a statistics class in the recreation administration program.

Outside of the classroom, Ebeling enjoyed swimming, bike rides in Bidwell Park, traveling the world, and actively engaging in local and state politics. He was also a talented photographer, a lifelong hobby that he shared with Frederica. Their beautiful landscape photographs were on display at their home and could be seen at the monthly meetings of the Chico Camera Club.

He is survived by his wife, Frederica. No services are planned.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Public Administration Program in the Political Science Department.

The University flag will be lowered Tuesday, August 16, in his memory.