Class of 1970
Joel Hamme email@example.com
Since graduating from Dickinson in 1970, I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1973. I then spent the next two years clerking for a state trial judge and a federal appellate judge in Philadelphia. From 1975 to the present, I have practiced health care law in Washington, D.C. with several private law firms. Much of my practice has
involved writing articles and book chapters and speaking at various legal conferences. I was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University School of Law for several years, teaching a health care course.
Although I have generally enjoyed the private practice of law and have found it to be financially rewarding as well, I have often wondered whether I should have pursued graduate school and an academic career in history (which was always my favorite subject). My wife and children frequently comment that I should have been a teacher; perhaps this is an indirect criticism of my skills as a husband and parent! I should add that I have very fond memories of the history department at Dickinson. A number of the professors were not only superb lecturers and teachers but also fine mentors and friends as well. Sadly, most, if not all of them, are now deceased or retired, but, on a happier note, I assume that they have been succeeded by a new generation of faculty that is equally excellent.
Aside from an affinity for mysteries, my personal reading reflects my double majors at Dickinson--history and political science. I am currently winding my way slowly through Winston Churchill's multi-volume history of World War II while trying to complete the last volume of Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War. I should finish all of that--with some
intermittent forays into lighter reading--by the time that I retire!
Finally, I should underscore that Dickinson and my history major were terrific preparation for law school and for my subsequent work experience. Much of that relates to the importance of solid research techniques, careful reading of sources, critical thinking about issues and problems, and cogent written analysis of relevant topics. I should add that many of my friends in law school and in legal practice have been, like me, history majors and wanna be academics who enjoy trivia contests and debating historical and current issues. I have also had the good fortune of working with a number of fellow Dickinsonians during my career, and they have almost invariably been wonderful advertisements for the College! (posted 2000)
Charles H. Leven CLeven@compuserve.com
I'll be glad to help out, at least to an extent. I work for the CIA and am still bound by rules of confidentiality, etc.
I dual-majored in Political Science and History, and I certainly have used both in my career. I joined the CIA as an operations officer in 1970, learned German and Russian, and have had tours overseas in Berlin, Moscow, Bonn, Budapest, and Stockholm. I also have traveled extensively on TDY, including several times to Central Asia where I was able to go along the Silk Road and follow at least a bit in Marco Polo's footsteps. At some point I will be able to say more, but I am lucky in that I was able to make real contributions to our winning the Cold War, and my wife and I have a real sense of accomplishment that we helped make the world safer for our son and other children.
If you can get your hands on it, you might want to read chapter 15 in Pete Earley's book, Confessions of a Spy: the Real Story of Aldrich Ames. The book was published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, in 1997. The part about me is contained in pages 194-199, and again in pages 205-207. In the middle of page 206 there is a quote from "Gennady Varenik's CIA handler", and that was me as well. (posted 2000)
Sue Rosenfeld firstname.lastname@example.org
I was primarily a Latin major and 'accidentally' picked up a second major in History because of all the Roman, Greek and medieval history courses I took. I sometimes forget that I even have a history major! . . . I've lived in Africa since 1977 . . . mother of Bebe (she's a chimpanzee) (posted 2000)
2002 up-date: I was a history major 'by accident.' I was a classics major but took a lot of history courses because I enjoyed them. The spring semester of my senior year Prof. Gates called me to his office and told me that if I took Historiography I would graduate with a double major. So I did, but there was no conscious planning of a history major. So I have a lot of credits in courses before 1700(Greek History, Roman History,
Medieval History, Renaissance/Reformation, etc).
I joined the Peace Corps in 1977 and basically stayed in Africa until 2001, when I had to return to the USA because of illness. I had a liver transplant on August 19, 2002 . . . I'm walking without a cane; getting stronger and more flexible daily, trying to remember to take it easy . . . and hope to return to Africa next year.
Chuck Strum email@example.com
If I had it to do all over again, I'd still major in history--though I'd take different courses in other disciplines to shore up my thinking: more literature, some religion and a philosphy course or two.
The history department between 1966 and 1970, the year I graduated, had some splendid and not-so-splendid instructors. Among the best were Clarke Garrett, Warren Gates, George Rhyne, Steve Weinberger, Chuck Jarvis.
Flint Kellogg and John Pflaum were well past their prime. I took only one course with Henry Young, a freshman survey course in world history (dreary text by Brinton, Christopher and Wolff (sp?) ) that I hope is not being reproduced in similar form today. But Dr. Young and I became fast friends, and though his speciality, English history, did not entice me, he remained an intellectual guidepost during my years on campus. He and Dr. Gates, in particular, compelled me to live up to their expectations of scholarship. An ephemeral idea, maybe, but a worthwhile one in the academy and one I managed to intuit, even at the tender age of 18.
Warren Gates was my adviser all four years. He could induce drowsiness, from time to time, with his Southern sing-song lecture style, but his grasp of the material, his sense of the history he was teaching, was unmistakable. He was also one of the toughest graders in the department. A gentlemanly C was hard won. I loved him because he was tough.
I have always enjoyed studying history. There's something both heroic and scientific about it: What REALLY happened? Why did the war begin? Was the king truly more democratic than his predecessor? Were Talleyrand and Bismarck as sharp/ruthless/ clueless as some biographers paint them? Can we get past the cliches of history and look at the record? And how do we interpret the record? Mostly, though, history is, at its best, a good yarn about people: who we are and where we came from. You can't make this stuff up. My preference, then and now, is for modern European history: the French Revolution through World War I. But then there's the Soviet era. And the early history of Britain and France. The opening of the Far East, etc. In the years since I left Carlisle, I have picked up books on all these subjects, and even managed to turn myself into a savvy Civil War historian. How has any of this affected me day to day? I have been a newspaper reporter and editor for 30 years, the last 22 at The New York Times. Not a day goes by when I don't rely on my training and my interests, whether it's a story on local politics in New York, or the history of Tammany Hall. On the foreign desk, I read widely on sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. On national, I reviewed the Federalist papers, read Dumas Malone's history of Jefferson and more biography. Years ago, before ``Dutch,'' I read Edmund Morris's ``The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,'' which I believe won the Bancroft Prize. A riveting account, to the very last anecdote.
At present, in one of the best posts I've ever had, I am obituaries editor of The Times, supervising the writing and editing of all the Times's advance obituaries on prominent people: heads of state, performers, scientists, sports figures, etc.
Just last week, I plunged into a biography of Whittaker Chambers by the man who wrote our obit of Gus Hall, the American Communist leader who died a few days ago. The study of history has also freed me, at long last, to read more fiction, contemporary and otherwise. In the last five years, I've plunged into American 20th Century fiction and 19th Century European fiction. Everything from Dickens to Updike seems so much more accessible (of course, age--my own--is a factor, too). In the last few years, I've interviewed dozens of people from all walks of life: Tom Seaver, Jack Paar, Bill Bradley, Art Spiegelman, Robert Trout, Stanley Donen, Peter Jennings and plenty of national political figures. You can't enter the arena without a sense of history, or a knowledge of history. History is about being informed, not simply about current events. Current events are the threads that become the cloth of history. And knowing about the past makes living in the confusing present just a tiny bit more tolerable. (posted 2000)
Paul Wessel PaulCWessel@aol.com
I still think of myself as a historian first; the rest is just what I do to make a living. It was Henry Young who forced me to take Economics courses, and go to Business School--he said that I would never make any money with a History degree.
(NOTE: According to Paul Wessel's CV, he is currently Chief Financial Officer of Smithsonian Business Ventures, which is "the money-making arm of the Smithsonian Institution, operating restaurants and shops in museums, as well as magazines, mail order and on-line catalogs, and brand licensing." He is "responsible for all financial and administrative functions, including HR, MIS, legal and contracting, and office management.") (posted 2000)
October 2003 update: After four years in service to my country, helping the Smithsonian Institution to reorganize and revitalize its many business operations, it's time for me to uphold the longstanding Washington DC tradition and "return to the private sector." I have not yet worked out all the details of phasing out my Smithsonian responsibilities, nor have I made a final decision about what I'll do next. I am in early discussions about a few opportunities, but nothing firm yet.
CLASS OF 1971
Harriet Beckert "Harriet Beckert"@voicenet.com
I graduated in 1971 and began working for the government. I spent most of my time working with computers. Along the way, I completed a MBA-Finance degree. After 7 years, I decided to stop working and stay home with our children. Four years ago, a friend asked if I wanted to fill in at the last minute on an architectural history tour of England. I went and loved it. I have since completed a certificate program in Historic Preservation at the local Community College (the sponsors of the trip). Today, I work as a preservation consultant helping people manage, archive and organize small collections. I have managed to combine computers and history and I really enjoy what I am doing. I do have to admit that the pay is low. (posted 2000)
Kingsley Greene firstname.lastname@example.org
I think Dickinson prepared me well for life after college. My history & science degrees have served me well as sound foundations for my work in librarianship. My involvement with a fraternity gave me teamwork, leadership, budgeting and social skills. . . I made a number of lifelong friends at Dickinson, many of whom I still stay in contact with. I look forward each year to returning to campus for Alumni Weekend. (posted 2000)
(NOTE: Since 1997 Kingsley is Director of Libraries at the Sage, Albany and Troy Campuses)
Barbara Inkellis binkellis@CSA.com
After college I taught US History (from 1865 to the present, which at that time was 1972!) in the Montgomery County, Maryland public school system. I taught until 1975, when I headed off for law school. I have been practicing law since 1978, first with two different private law firms, and the last 21 (!) years with a private company in the information business.
I have always had an incredible love for history and we joke in our house that I have passed down the history gene to my children. My son, especially, loves it and watches the history channel constantly. (My children are both in high school.) We have toured as a family some significant historical sights. Around our home these have included the Manasses Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Fort McHenry, etc. When we went to Boston four years ago it took us two entire days to do the Freedom Trail, as we saw every blessed site along the way! In the summer of 2001 we went to England and France and particularly loved Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum in London as well as our private eight-hour tour of the Normandy battlefield sites in France.
When I think back upon the history classes that I took at Dickinson, it's surprising how many I can recall with clarity (the class, not what was taught!). I took Renaissance and Reformation with Professor Weinberger, Russian History Part II with Professor Rhyne, African American History and History of the American Frontier with Professor Jarvis, etc. You probably have up on your web site accolades regarding Professor "hair fact" Pflaum, but I found his approach to be trees versus the forest, which left me with no real understandinging of how everything fit together. AP World History (a new course started last year by the College Board) approaches the thousands of years that it covers by looking at broad trends throughtout time--the role of religion, for example. I think it's a better way to go. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1972
Norton Gusky Norton_Gusky@fcasd.edu
My degree in history has found its way into my life in sometimes very unusual ways. When I first graduated I ended up beginning to write a history of the neighborhood where I grew up for the local Urban Coalition. Two chapters were completed and published in a weekly newspaper before I had to leave the region for a job opportunity. I became an elementary teacher and incorporated my sense of history into my work as an educator.
We truly learn from our past. During my teaching days in West Virginia I tried to use the Foxfire model and mold classroom investigations around an understanding of the community's past. Students interviewed parents, grandparents or neighbors focusing on issues, such as recreation and festivals.
Over the years my work in history provided other opportunities for expression. Recently I've undertaken a digital video project, "Stories Told and Untold" which incorporates oral history. The project portrays a personal adventure to Prague, Poland and Israel which focused on the Holocaust. I'm now considering an extension of this project as part of a trip to Spain this spring.
I'd be happy to share my experiences with current Dickinson students. (posted 2000)
Donna W. Hecker DHecker174@aol.com
I am a 1972 graduate of Dickinson in History and English. Since that time I have been a paralegal; I've had my own catering business; I've been a Director of Student Activities and an upper school U.S. History teacher at a private K-12 girls school in Philadelphia. While working at Springside School, I completed a Masters in Humanities with a concentration in History. I am currently the Events and Special Project Manager for the President's Office at Bryn Mawr College.Since my days at Dickinson, I have continued to read history and follow current events. Both interpersonal and writing skills have made an impact on my ability to do a good job in a variety of situations. History has usually been a component of my occupations, whether through case law, classroom teaching, or institutional memory. (posted 2000)
Cary Jubinville email@example.com
Since leaving the school in 1972, I have been principally involved in a family business, insurance, here in the Connecticut Valley of Western Massachusetts. I have managed to accumulate graduate equivalent insurance degrees along the way, however I am not sure how my Dickinson history major played a part in this. I do take a great deal of time to read Am. history works, particularly like David Hackett Fisher's, Albion's Seed and Paul Revere'sRide. This valley is full of historic places which engenders good reading. I have devoted a great deal of volunteer time to Amateur Golf. Currently I am president of the Massachusetts Golf Assoc., having been on its Executive Committee since 1988. We are planning and preparing for the association's centennial in 2003, so perhaps there is history at work here, both in the book we are to publish and other items. Golf history is an outgrowth of my association with the game and I certainly seek to use this knowledge whenever appropriate. My current writing interest is poetry, which probably goes over to my American Studies major. I am still waiting for William Manchester to publish his third and final volume on Winston Churchill, having read and reread the first two more times than I can clearly count. Sorry, British history, though Winston had an American mother. Best wishes to you, the College and the History Dept. My two oldest sons have traveled to Gettysburg from their Mass. school during their 8th grade years, having read Killer Angels for English & History courses. This has allowed me to revisit vicariously south central Pa and my own trips to the battlefield and that sacred ground. (posted 2000)
2002 up-date: I continue to be actively interested in American History and Letters, and have used anecdotal material many times in oral presentations particularly when I served as President of the Massachusetts Golf Association (1999-2001). As you might assume I am keenly interested in the history of golf, both as a player and administrator.
Jane Weaver Cellmates@aol.com
My history major at Dickinson was accompanied by a minor in Biology and Education, and since I couldn't get a teaching job in history, I became a Biology Teacher and have been one for 28 years at Norristown Area High School. My love for history, however, has permeated my outside interests and my travels in this country. My husband and I have made several trips south doing a Civil War battlefield tour, which we both loved. My course in Civil War history with JC Pflaum sparked that interest back in 1971! He took us on a great tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and my interest took off from there! I read mostly historical novels and biographies about American history statesmen and Civil War generals. I look forward to retirement from teaching soon to continue these interests! You can certainly give my E-mail address out if anyone would be interested in contacting me. Most teachers do not have dual certification in Biology and History! (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1973
John Conly, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
My majors at Dickinson were History and American Studies. As a practicing solo attorney, my moderate knowledge of the history of the country and the states in our region--Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland--often is useful in dealing with the many who are natives to this area as well as providing some insight for the newcomers. I often use the thought processes taught in the study of history to develop a method to deal with clients and those on the opposite side of various conflicts. The broader view of humanity that is the result of the American Studies major (religion, psychology, sociology) was useful in studying history while in college and in studying the individuals with whom I interact in my work.
Some of my knowledge of the history of the College itself must have been of benefit when I brought my daughter to the campus for a tour because she is now a sophomore at our alma mater. As to recommending history as a major for any student, I would only suggest that the student needs to enjoy his or her major and that this is the primary reason to choose it. Fortunately, Dickinson still emphasizes a broad academic mix of courses [including history] which allows for a more well rounded education and I believe that this is the ideal for a college graduate. Ultimately, each of us must specialize in some field, but the more exposure we have to diverse areas of study the better parents, citizens, employers/employees, and human beings we will be. (posted 2000)
William French email@example.com
Thanks for the invitation for your creative history directory project. At Dickinson my history major was enhanced by my participation in the Bologna Program for my junior year which allowed me to feel a different set of cultures, experience the sites of much of the history I had been studying, and to experience an urban fabric that is markedly different from our typically sprawled out American towns and cities. I got hooked on philosophy and religion by Professors Booth and Allen, and taught special education for a year after Dickinson before attending Harvard Divinity School where I got my M.Div. degree. I concentrated my work in religious ethics. After a year of law school I taught high school for a year and enrolled in a doctoral program at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago called "Ethics and Society." Both my masters and Ph.D. degrees in a sense wallowed heavily in intellectual history--both religious and philosophical. Since then I have been teaching at Loyola University of Chicago in the Theology Department. My area is religious ethics, with concentrations in both ecological ethics and war and peace issues. My history major has continued to ground much of what I write about and how I teach in these areas. Most associate ecology with a focus on nature, but most of us who are interested in both ecological ethics and war and peace issues. My history major has continued to ground much of what I write about and how I teach in these areas. Most associate ecology with a focus on nature, but most of us who are interested in this area bring to it concerns and a sense of urgency borne from a reading of the recent history of our planet--the rise of new technologies, new powerful capabilities to develop (and destroy) tropical rainforests, surging human population numbers, new capabilities in extinguishing species and in transforming habitats. I retain my interests from Bologna in urban issues especially in America's path since World War II of pushing automobile use while letting urban areas sprawl. Europe took another path that means they still use about half the fossil fuel per person per year that we do. In my war and peace courses, obviously I concentrate on the rise of modern technologies that have transformed the scope of war and have raised new ethical issues in the last century about the ethics of combat and the line between legitimate and illegitimate use of force. Anyway I find that too often ethics is done as an abstract discussion employing different theories to hypothetical cases. I find it far more interesting and compelling to draw from recent history real cases for class discussion and reflection. Among the topics I survey are the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and some aspects of the war in Vietnam and the recent Bosnian Debacle. I draw on the resources of the religious traditions--Christianity, Judaism, and Hindu (Gandhi) to think through with the class different stances we might take in conflict situations.
My email address may be shared with the students on your site. All the best in your work at Dickinson. (posted 2000)
Rev. Peter R. Grosso firstname.lastname@example.org
I have just recently moved and begun a new pastorate with the Clinton United Presbyterian Church, effective October 1st. . . . The church I am now serving was established in 1797, is in the Pittsburgh Presbytery, and is very near the new Pittsburgh International Airport. We are now residing in Moon Township. (posted 2000)
Frank McGahey Frankmcgahey@aol.com
History has played a major part in my career development. Much of my studies in Classical,Middle Ages and Renaissance helped in my studies of Church History as I worked on my Masters of Divinity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I still dabble in American History as a hobby,especially Civil War studies. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1974
Alice L. George email@example.com
. . . I graduated with majors in history, Amerian Studies, and Latin . . . among my professors were Charles Jarvis and Leon Fitts. They were young then, but because I was younger, I didn't notice. After graduating, I worked for twenty years as a newspaper editor at newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and the Philadelphia Daily News. Then I earned a master of liberal arts from Penn and a Ph.D. in history from Temple. (posted 2000)
(Note: Dr. George's book, Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in October 2003.)
Mark Walters WALTERSMRK@aol.com
I am currently an Assistant Director in the Office of Immigration Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice. One of the major areas of immigration litigation conducted by our office involves asylum claims. To evaluate the merits of an alien's claim of past persecution, or threatened future persecution, attorneys and judges often need to become familiar with recent political and military conditions, or the degree of tolerance for a religion, in the alien's country.
My history degree and continuing interest in the subject have served me well in litigating asylum cases. For example, it is much easier to evaluate and understand the asylum claim of an alien from one of the countries that made up former Yugoslavia if one knows something about the history of that region, including the hundreds of years of religious conflict, the outbreak of World War I, the impact of German occupation, the unification under Tito, and the influence of communism. Do you need a history degree to do this kind of work? A majority of my colleagues do not have a history degree, so obviously not. But I do not think anyone enjoys this kind of work more than a history or political science major. All else being equal, I doubt that anyone can reach a reasonably accurate conclusion regarding the merits of an asylum claim faster than a history major, and few will be better able to articulate the reasons why a claim should succeed or fail. My history degree alone did not qualify me for this position. I graduated from law school four years after Dickinson, and in all honesty I am not sure the history major had anything to do with being hired to do this job. But I am very happy to have found a position that allows me to use my education and continuing interest in history from time to time. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1975
Jonathan L. Coss Jonathan.Coss@axa-financial.com
Some time after graduating from Dickinson, I returned to school to receive an MA in history from East Stroudsburg University, planning to teach history. When I realized I wasn't suited to teaching, I pursued a different aspect of history. I attended Columbia University's School of Library Science, received an MLS, specializing in archival studies, and accepted a position as corporate archivist for a financial services company. The education Dickinson provided me was the foundation for my graduate studies and career. (posted 2000)
Cindy Courtney firstname.lastname@example.org
I loved being a history major at Dickinson. I had a work study job in the history department and I was on the history majors committee during my senior year, 1974-75, when the department hired 3 faculty members to fill positions of both professors on sabbatical and retiring professors. After Dickinson, I earned a master's in history from Carnegie Mellon University. At that point, my career path turned a different direction and I went to law school. I have been a practicing lawyer for 20 years and now manage healthcare litigation at CIGNA. I have not ruled out teaching history at some point.
Being a history major has helped me immeasurably in my career and life. I honed my writing and analytical skills in college and it was as a history major that I really started asking the question "why?" As a lawyer, nothing is more important than understanding motivations. I also read history, memoir and other non-fiction. Thanks to "Tiger" Young, I have a life-long interest in medieval English history and the Plantagenets. Thanks to Chuck Jarvis, I have a deep and abiding love for American history. Thanks to Clarke Garrett, I continue to ask "why?" and to be as vitally interested in the writing of history as I am in the events themselves. (posted 2000)
Nancy Hooff Nhooff@aol.com
Thank you so much for your inquiry into my professional life since graduating from Dickinson. History most definitely played an important role in my career development and the study of history remains a passion of mine to this day. Professor Clarke Garrett was a great inspiration to me. He was able to connect current political and cultural events through history, which was very exciting to me. At Dickinson, I spent my junior year in Bologna which was very influential in shaping my values, my world view, and eventually my career choices. Professor Weinberger was the resident director and I think the first history professor (rather than political science professors) to hold the post. After I graduated from Dickinson, I returned to Bologna and enrolled in the University of Bologna with the intention of tranferring the credits there for a U.S. masters degree in Renaissance history and art. During this second year in Bologna, I realized that I was not really suited to become an academic and that I needed to be more hands on in the events that shape current history. I eventually got a masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), where I concentrated in development economics. I wrote my thesis on the War in the Western Sahara, which examined the international legal issues revolving around the decolonization of western Sahara after the Spanish left, the economic potential of the region and the war that ensued. The historical perspective in examining, understanding, and resolving conflicts like the western Sahara is essential. The historical perspective, has in fact, helped me throughout my professional career. I lived in Mauritania for six years, where I raised my family, started a private consulting firm, and began to work for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) first as a contractor to develop private sector projects for them in the country. Eventually, USAID hired me as a Foreign Service Officer. I served as a Foreign Service Officer for USAID in Tunisia and Guatemala. I have been based in Washington, D.C for the last six years and worked on democracy and economic assistance programs for Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, where I have traveled extensively. In the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Bureau of USAID, I first headed up the division for urban development and housing and then became deputy director for the Office of Democracy and Governance programs for the region. I feel extremely lucky to have been witness to the enormous changes in the economic and political lives of the people there since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Before and during my posts overseas, I always first read the history of a country ---which may be because I just enjoy history. But it is more than just this I think. Without this, I would find it difficult to relate to the people, the culture and the issues that the country currently faces. In my last job with USAID, I worked on developing programs to provide assistance to the opposition in Serbia and made recommendations for our programs in Montenegro. To read the papers now, with the fall of Milosevic, is indeed like reading history, except it's current. I think I understand this complicated part of the world much better than I would otherwise (I can't claim to know or understand it all, of course!) because I know some of its very difficult history. At any rate, knowing history made me a better Foreign Service Officer, I believe. I left USAID in July of this year to start my own company with my husband. Our company is a real estate development and investment company, working primarily to channel needed investment capital in underserved urban areas, both in the United States and abroad. This change in career has been a natural progression and evolution for me. Free of the bureacracy, but having greatly benefited from the information and knowledge of local conditions overseas and how globalization is affecting all of us, I can now take advantage of opportunities to be part of this "new economy". (posted 2000)
Roy Littlefield RoyEL3@aol.com
After Dickinson I went to Catholic University where I got my M.A. and Ph.D. at Catholic University, where I have taught on an adjunct basis since 1980 (I teach 3-5 courses a year). When I came to Washington I worked on Capitol Hill for a Senator from my home state of New Hampshire. Since 1979 I have been a lobbyist for small business associations. Most lobbyists have law degrees. I believe that I am viewed differently because I have a Ph.D. People say that there are no jobs besides teaching with a history degree, but I totally disagree. Pursue what you enjoy and the pieces will truly come together. (posted 2000)
Timothy Morris, Esq. email@example.com
Over the years, I have developed a "sixth sense" which allows me to immediately determine if a person I am talking to is "into" history or not. A glazed look when I begin talking about the development of the Henry repeating rifle or the Secret Service investigation of Marilyn Monroe's death is a sure sign the listener is an avid fan of "Survivor." Like a .400 hitter, history buffs are born - not made. Dickinson is the place where that shoot of curiosity is watered and nurtured. We history types belong to an ever shrinking fraternity. While it is encouraging to see the development of history as popular entertainment, such as "The History Channel", "Braveheart", and the like, most people simply don't care about how our world got to be our world. This is why this web site is so refreshing--to see that it is possible to make a living from something one loves. Believe it or not, this is an almost daily topic of conversation at our house as my son will be entering college in the fall and has expressed an interest in majoring in history, as did his father.
Frankly, I was hesitant to even encourage it. Not practical and all that. But after reading the postings on this site, especially Hoof's (sorry, Nancy, we always called you "Hoof"), I am really excited about the opportunities which are available for those who seek them. I think her letter should be required reading for every student who has doubts about whether to major in history. Maybe its not too late for me! (posted 2000)
George Sirgiovanni Sebcgrayve@aol.com
My name is George Sirgiovanni. I graduated in 1975 as a double major in History and English. Currently I am a Professor of HIstory myself, at the College of Saint Elizabeth, in Morristown NJ. I teach American history and politics, in the main. I also am the College's American Studies Program Director. The training I received at Dickinson certainly provided me with an excellent foundation for the future studying I did at the graduate level. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1976
Wendy Basehoar Wlbas@ffb.com
I laughed recently when someone asked me for details on my educational background because I'm one of those people who ended up doing something totally unrelated to their degree. My degree did get me the rights to:
1. Being the household expert for history homework; and 2. Being the household resident yelling at the TV when a history question comes up on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Other than that I'm probably as far removed as possible from the norm of "what you do with a history degree". After graduating from Dickinson in 1976, law school was on the horizon. Finances being what they were, I chose to go the paralegal route as a temporary measure. The definition of "temporary" became longer and longer until law school became a fleeting thought. I attended the Institute for Paralegal Training, Philadelphia PA and ended up with a job as an estate/trust/tax paralegal with a law firm in Lancaster PA. The law firm served as counsel to the bank that hired me 18 years ago as a trust officer. Today I head the former trust department of the bank which includes management responsibilities for a $1.5 billion dollar company. I'd me more than happy to answer questions from students and alumni, however, I fear that I'm probably not what you are looking for when it comes to a typical career path of a history major. (posted 2000)
Lawrence Cohen CohenLE2@firstname.lastname@example.org
A Dickinson coincidence: Lawrence Cohen ('76) and Keith Curtis ('76), members of the Dickinson College Outing Club where both were active cavers, are assigned to the U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Keith with the Foreign Commerical Service and Larry with the Department of State. Brasilia happens to be located in a geologic region containing numerous caves and other natural wonders. Larry arrived in Brazil in October 2002 after two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Keith will depart for Stockholm on reassignment summer
2003. This is the first time the friends have seen each other since Gerald Ford was President. (posted 2000)
Fr. Shaw Mudge email@example.com
It is hard to say how much the history major alone contributed to my life after Dickinson (class of '76) as so many things interweave.
It was helpful to have the history major background for my M. Div. degree, especially for the Church History courses. I specialized more in European History, having been in the Bologna program (1974-5), so for my former international business activities, being a history major came in handy as general background knowledge, as well. Perhaps because of my interest in the library as a history major, I became a life member of the Friends of Dickinson Library and a Board Member of that organization for a term.
I began to take an interest in family history as a result of my History 190 requirement to compare two generations in my ancestry; and family history subsequently became a major hobby, and enabled me to reestablish and establish connections with parts of my diversified family. Later, I began to research family history for Julie, my wife, and that helped me to understand her side of the family better, family characteristics, who was related to whom, and gave me a bond of common interest with some of her relatives. Now, I think I have about 36 three inch, three ring notebook volumes of material, and I have privately published a few small compilations of family history for our family.
On the heels of looking through town records for family history information, I became a bit more familiar with the way the town worked, and that was good background for my entry into The Representative Town Meeting from District 12A in Greenwich, CT, in the late 1970's, which in turn served as the beginning of my participation in public service, and also it served a bit as a basis for my business activities in governmental and regulatory affairs in our family business, and that has provided me with a background for a whole variety of pursuits in business, government, and the Church.
Since we homeschool our three children and since Julie is now beginning her ministry degree, some of the information and skills which I learned in my history major have been passed on to them. My history background also helped in curriculum design for some other homeschool families in Connectcut.
Here are a few highlights from my years since Dickinson College:
At Shaw Mudge & Company (my dad founded the company), I became First Vice President shortly before the company expanded to about 70 employees. I was also Corporate Secretary of this company and several of its affiliated companies. My areas of specialization over the years included human resources and governmental and regulatory affairs. For a while, I was Director of African and Middle Eastern Affairs, and my business activities took me to Europe on occasion.
In the midst of my time at the company, I earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA.
After seminary, I became a Board member of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, an Associate Trustee of National Small Business United, a member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Smal Business Administration, a member of the Governor's Small Business Advisory Council (State of Connecticut), a delegate to the third White House Conference on Small Business from the State of Connecticut, a member of the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, Dean of the Bridgeport Deanery (Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut), and a Vestry member at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Fairfield, CT. There were other responsibilities, but these are the major ones that I remember.
In 1997 I was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, and in 1998, I was ordained a priest in the same diocese--but ordained by the Bishop of the Diocese of Albany on behalf of the Bishop of Connecticut. Shortly after my ordination to the Priesthood, Julie, our three daughters, and I moved to Walton, NY, where we now live.
Currently, I serve two parishes: Christ Church in Walton, NY, where I am Rector, and St. Paul's Church in Bloomville, NY, where I am Priest-in-Charge. In addition, this year I became Secretary of the Diocese of Albany. I am a faculty member as well as the curriculum designer for the Deacon Formation program for the Diocese of Albany, and I am a candidate for the D. Min. program at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1977
Kathleen Mount Immordino firstname.lastname@example.org
settle for obvious answers. Historiography seminars taught me that storytelling is a very effective way to convey messages, a skill I find invaluable in management. I'd venture to say that I use the skills developed in the history program every day in researching, writing, and teaching. (posted 2000)
Peg Moore MAM@vnf.com
I was a history major (actually, a double major in history and French), graduating in 1977. I focused my course work, to the extent possible, on medieval and renaissance history. While all of the memoirs (e.g. journals of the explorers of the time) and political literature written during that period was of interest to me, I was especially intrigued with political ideas and theories of state and governance. In that respect, I suppose that my study area crossed into the discipline of political science, except for the fact that I was (and continue to be) much more comfortable with historiography than political science. Since graduation, although I have taken no additional courses, I have continued to read and be interested in history. Aside from contact with interesting subject matter, I view the history major to have influenced my approach to the world. (Among other things, I attribute a memory for numerical details to my history major.)
I have been a practicing attorney in DC for 20 years, specializing in energy law (in fact, even more specifically, in electric matters). I like to think, however, that I have a more rounded view of the world than that might connote. Thanks for inspiring me to reflect back on the study of history. (posted 2000)
Alexander Ross ARoss@rakoskiross.com
I miss Professor Nilsson and Professor Friedman, who interwove history lessons throughout their political science courses. ( I was a triple major). (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1978
Alison Brown Cerier email@example.com
I have been an editor in book publishing since leaving Dickinson in 1978. I began with an internship my senior year; went to the Denver Publishing Institute; spent ten years in New York as an acquisitions editor at major houses, then started a book-development company.
My history major developed my abilities to write, analyze, and above all, think. A critical move I made, though, was spending my junior year in Vienna. That's where I grew up! I had an English minor, and I think it was a great complement to the history work.
My husband, a history major at Ithaca College, has worked in publishing, advertising, and marketing, and includes among his hobbies reading tons of books about the Civil War and various presidents.
If students have questions about careers in book publishing, they can e-mail me. (posted 2000)
Susan Monaghan MonaghanS@TESD.K12.PA.US
What a great idea! It's nice to know that someone is interested in how my life has evolved since Dickinson! I love American History, especially as it relates to the people and their everyday lives. When I graduated I taught American History, Behavioral Science and Anthropology in a public junior high school for seven years. I was fortunate to have a curriculum that was primarily Greeks/Romans to the revolution (7th grade) and then the Revolution to the Civil War (8th grade). During that time I went back to school for a Master's degree in Human services and have been a Middle School/High School Counselor for the past 15 years. Even though I no longer teach history, I do live it. My husband and I bought a farmhouse/property dated in the 1740's, have researched it and renovated it! The eating area with the big walk in fireplace has no electricity and we use only candles! Probably more romantic today than it was back then! I have pursued my interest in the area by volunteering for archeological digs at Valley Forge National Park and on weekends in the spring, summer and fall I act as a historical interpretor for the Chadds Ford Historical society. I have made my own garb, stays and all, and have done a great deal of research on the time period and the area to supplement the society's materials. I always manage to drag my family to Williamsburg a couple of times a year, just so that I can relive the wealthier man's approach to colonial living. I have always believed that 'history' is part of our lives and that children need to live history rather then memorize it! I would be happy to talk with any current students or graduates regarding my own historical path! (posted 2000)
2002 up-date: I am currently involved in the Historical Commission for East Fallowfield township. Our primary goal is to document old structures that have had an impact on our community and preserve historic structures from being demolished as our township grows.
Dr. Mary E. Riley MRiley@wssd.k12.pa.us
Since my departure I have maintained quite a bit of contact and involvement with Dickinson. Over the years I have participated in the annual phone-a-thon, and more recently have become involved in the planning of our reunion and fundraising for our class of '78.
Last year I actually spent more time than usual at Dickinson because my son came down to the wire in deciding between attendance at Dickinson and another school--and, he spent some weekends there with the cross country guys and Don Nichter--he opted for the other school much to my disappointment--but he is definitely happy where he is
Anyway, I have done very little with my major since leaving Dickinson in terms of history. I got involved in teaching and found this to be my passion and talent. For awhile I worked teaching emotionally disturbed adolescents and continued my education by pursuing a masters in special education, and then educational administration. Eventually, I moved into several administrative roles (supervisor of special education, high school, and elementary school principals) and, after finishing my doctorate at Lehigh in education and administrative leadership, moved into a central office position as a director of secondary education. My role, however, is related to my major. On a daily basis, I read, analyze, and interpret political and historical reports, records, perspectives, etc. I'm very much involved in the legal ramifications of old and new mandates on the educational system. And, I participate in a wide range of local, state, and national meetings that address the above to educate those within the system. So, I do view my major as being related to my position. As historians, we learn to seek perspectives on both sides of any given issue and then develop a position for what ideals will be those we support . . . my role today requires the ability to do such in the educational arena. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1979
Robert J. Sherry firstname.lastname@example.org
I was a double major in Philosophy and History and thought very seriously about getting a Ph.D. in American History with the intention of teaching undergraduate studies in that area. I particularly enjoyed several American history surveys and seminars with Rick Pfau, the two-semester Russian history course with Neil Weissman, and two independent study efforts--one on the Professor LaVallee matter (using our archives) and one on the Irish Civil War.
But after eyeing the large mound of indebtedness I had incurred in my undergraduate days, I instead went off to law school in DC in 1979. Following a federal court of appeals clerkship in DC, I have practiced law, first in DC, and now in San Francisco, for twenty years. Nonethless, my principal recreational reading continues to be history, particularly American history. Among other books, I recently completed the latest volume of Caro's biography of LBJ (Master of the Senate), Tim Pat Coogan's work on the Irish diaspora (Wherever Green Is Worn), Tony Geraghty's book on the IRA-Britain intelligence struggle (The Irish War), and the most recent volume of Kevin Starr's social history of California. (postd 2000)