Professor John C. (Jack) Livingston was a professor of Government at Sac State from 1954 until his death in 1981. Prior to joining the Sacramento State faculty, he taught at the University of Denver and the University of Colorado. A native of Ogden, Utah, Professor Livingston earned his bachelor's degree from UCLA, his M.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D from the Claremont Graduate College.
During his tenure at Sac State, Professor Livingston served as acting dean of the School of Arts and Sciences (1971-72), was head of the campus' Academic Senate in 1970, and helped found the statewide California State College's 19-campus Academic Senate (serving as its head in 1965).
For years the chair of Sacramento State Department of Government and a legend to a generation of faculty members and students, Jack Livingston was a champion of academic freedom, shared governance, and civil rights. He was charismatic and principled. He spoke out against wrongs and spoke up for the oppressed. Early in his Sacramento, he served on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and on the CSU Chancellor's Commission on Human Rights. Professor Livingston was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and an advocate of arms control. He published articles on unilateral disarmament and was coauthor, with Robert Thompson, of the widely admired and influential textbook, Consent of the Governed: An Introduction to American Government.
In Jack Livingston's memory, a University Convocation is held each year to honor a distinguished member of the Sac State faculty who has played an active role in the life of the institution, including governance, who has displayed a consistent collegiality, and who has shown a strong commitment to students while maintaining an active participation in creative and scholarly activities. The convocation is called the John C. Livingston Annual Faculty Lecture.
Importantly, Jack Livingston's legacy at Sacramento State has been preserved not only by his former students and colleagues but through this institution's long-time friendship with his spouse and children. Ethel Livingston has been a participant in many campus events in addition to her attendance at the annual lecture in her husband's memory. She has stayed in close contact with the members of the Department of Government, and has been a generous donor to the University and an active member of the Renaissance Society.
"Can the human trust and civic decency on which depend the lives of colleges and neighborhoods alike be bought at any cheaper price than liberty."