Wolf was a Fulbright exchange student from Germany and attended Princeton for only two years but graduated magna cum laude. Having a bachelor’s degree became significant in his later life.
He majored in history, concentrating on American history and related courses. By 1962 Wolf had earned a doctorate with a Ph.D. dissertation about German reparations. As one of the few German academics concentrating on the history of the United States, he received a tenured position teaching American civilization at the University of Heidelberg. In 1974, he became a professor at Ruhr University in Bochum.
In 1991, convinced that the American graduated system (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.) was better than the German model, he and two colleagues conceived a plan for a five-year trial run of a B.A. program in the humanities. Given a state grant, the first students were enrolled in 1992, and now most German universities have adopted his plan.
Wolf is survived by his wife, Ursula Lehmkuhl; four children; and five grandchildren. The class extends its deepest sympathy to them all.