CLASS OF 1961
Nina Hunsicker Lockwood
I took my B.A. in History and went further and further back in time;I became a Paleontologist. I have to admit that my best courses at Dickinson: World War II;History of England and Europe since 1914 didn't exactly do the job in science. What I had to do was go back and learn biology and chemistry;however my Dickinson experience had taught me good study and research skills so I ended up as the Library assistant in the Geology Department of The University of Rochester. I worked there from 1972 to 1980 publishing articles on fossil collecting; the Finger Lakes and Lake Baikal; also some earthquake prediction work. Then I took time out seeing my son obtain his Master of Library Science Degree and essentially going to work in the U of Rochester libraries as well. My daughter then came to Dickinson where she graduated IN THE CLASS OF 1994. I prepped her for her junior year abroad in Italy with my History knowledge. So, while this note seems piecemeal and jumps around, I am so happy I was a History major at Dickinson; it can take you anywhere. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1962
Kenneth Bowling firstname.lastname@example.org
My focus is on the politics of the creation of the federal government during the American Revolution (1760-1790). My research has specialized on the First Federal Congress (1789-1791) which implemented the Constitution of 1787 and on the creation of Washington, D.C., 1783-1791. Lately I have been forced to consider the history of Washington from 1791-1815 and even beyond.
The best thing I can say about my history major at Dickinson (and the guidance particularly of Professor Henry J. Young) is that when I entered Merrill Jensen's seminar at the University of Wisconsin the fall after my graduation from Dickinson in 1962, I was better prepared for graduate work in history than my colleagues from such major universities as Harvard. (posted 2000)
Jack Clough Jackclough@aol.com
Majoring in History at Dickinson has helped me considerably throughout my life and career. It wasn't so much that I learned a great amount of specific facts that cluttered my head. It was that it gave me an appreciation of history and a historical perspective that aided me. Academia is, by its own necessity, fragmented and limited. The perspective of history is one of those fragments that I have found most useful. I went on to law school and my study of English history gave me direct assistance in understanding English property law. As a lawyer who has been an advocate for change, history is the context in which laws are made and operate. To understand law one must at least appreciate the historical context in which was created and used. I have used history more than once to develop a legal argument for a client. Hence, I have used the methodology of historical research to assist me in those endeavors. Similarly, my appreciation and knowledge of History helped me write a book on land use law. In sum the study of history opened a very valuable door to a "tool box" for me to use from time to time throughout my life. It is a never-ending source of reading material for self study. If there is anything else you would like to know, please feel free to contact me. (posted 2000)
W. James White email@example.com
Over the years, I have been very grateful for the grounding in history I received through the History Department. Following graduation from Dickinson, I did graduate studies at Drew University Theological School in preparation for the United Methodist
ministry, and eventually took a Doctor of Ministry degree from the same school. Throughout my theological studies, I was very much aware of the benefit of a thorough exposure to history, (especially American, European, and World). These studies helped make my preaching and teaching ministry more relevant to the context in which I worked, and particularly when I was appointed to be the Executive Secretary for Europe of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in 1993. During this time, I was responsible for the coordination of the Mission of the United Methodist Church from Ireland in the west to Russia in the east, and from Norway to all of southern Europe and part of North Africa. You will recognize how being a history major became a valuable asset to me!
Now retired, and still an avid reader of the news, I am grateful that I can put so much of the global news into some kind of historical perspective--thanks to my work at Dickinson's History Department. Many thanks! (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1963
Bill Hensyl firstname.lastname@example.org
What an unexpected but pleasant surprise!
At this moment, time does not allow me the luxury of responding with a commentary about the influence of a history major on my career. However, be assured that I will be glad to share my thoughts about this in the not too distant future.
This is an excellent idea, one which may be useful to those trying to answer the question: "What are you going to DO with a history major?" (posted 2000)
John McGee VWJCM@aol.com
I am sorry that it has taken me this long to respond to your query. I graduated from D'son 6/63 with a major in History. To summarize a lot of water under the dam, I received my Masters in Theology from Boston U. in '66 and later another Masters in Urban Planning from NYU in '72. I have had several careers, including social work, publishing, construction, politics and the like. I now am a developer in Mystic, CT with my own hotels, retail and apts.
I have and do love History. My recreational reading and my avocations are shaped by this love. I have been very successful financially and am lucky to have done so many interesting things. My love for History has given me a curiousity about "why things tick." How did this situation develop, who are these people, where did they come from, what are they going to do (remember, they've probably done it before.) In summary, my life has been fuller and richer because of my background in History Studies. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1964
Marilyn Detweiler Splete email@example.com
Happy to hear of your web site. Actually, as it turned out, my decision to be a history major was a fortuitous one. I started out as an English major ( so did everyone else in the 60's it seemed), but switched to history after taking the required freshman introductory social science course. The classes were taught by faculty members in various social science disciplines (I had Don Flaherty--what a flamboyant teacher he was!). I'd always liked history so decided to take courses in that department. At that time, there were few other female history majors (Joan Fuller, Sue Husted and me as I recall) so success became a challenge. We persevered despite John Pflaum's implied assertions that girls could never understand military history, etc. I was offered the job of Asst. Dean of Admissions at Dickinson when I graduated in 1964 so I lived in Carlisle for a few years after graduation. After I was married and moved to NY state, I went looking for a teaching job because I didn't want to continue doing all the traveling involved in college admissions work. It was August and Jordan-Elbridge Jr.-Sr. HS still needed someone to teach ninth grade social studies and coach the football team. They hired me on the strength of my Dickinson degree and said they'd find someone else to coach if I would get my teacher certification. Which I did. I taught several years, then left the profession for 15 years. In 1985 I updated my certification and went back to teaching, in Maryland this time, teaching government, economics,etc. But in between those two teaching careers, my husband Allen and I decided to do a book editing the letters of Frederic Remington, the western artist. It was published in 1988 and is titled Frederic Remington: Selected Letters. Editing the letters was my husband's job and I got the job of researching the period of Remington's life (1861-1910) and writing the introductory sections to each chapter. And did I ever thank my Dickinson education in history and English. Thanks for asking about the relationship between my history major and my life. It was and continues to be a fairly seamless web. We now own a seasonal home on Cranberry Lake in NY, a place frequented by Remington, and hope to continue to write about him. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1965
Charles Lippy firstname.lastname@example.org
After Dickinson, I pursued an M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary and then an M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Religion at Princeton University. At Dickinson I had a second major in religion. So it will be no surprise that my area of academic specialization is the history of religion in American culture. Although since 1994 I have had an appointment as the LeRoy A. Martin Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I have at other institutions had appointments in American Studies and also in History, along with teaching religion. Anyone interested in the way I have brought the two interests together can check some of the books I have written. Most are in the Dickinson library. I have had a particular interest in editing reference works as well as writing monographs on topics in American religious history. My last book came out in June and is titled Pluralism Comes of Age: American Religious Culture in the Twentieth Century. Right now, I am working on a book tentatively called Real Men Pray: Images of Protestant Male Spirituality in American Religious History and serving as co-editor for the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. Best wishes to all current majors. (posted 2000)
J. Bennett Sears BikerBenn@aol.com
It's good to hear from the D'son History Department. What news I've sent you, I'm not sure. A recent D'son alum publication carried the notice in the section for the class of '65 that I teach history at West Phila. High School, which happens to be the alma mater of the late Prof. John C. Pflaum, a favorite in the Department of many members of our class and others around that time. It's just kind of fun to remember and think about him sometimes--he was always talking about his old high school, then his years at the U. of P. after that. Anyway, my point is that the college must already know about that, since that tidbit was published-- within the past year. One day soon, I will take the life changing step into retirement, which might give me time to write more--but now teaching and related acitivity takes my time and energy. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1966
James A. Edris email@example.com
1966-76 Foreign Service Officer, United States Information Agency;
Washington, D.C., West Pakistan, Ecuador.
1976-80 Manager, Public Information, Hershey Foods Corporation (media,
education and community relations).
1980-00 Director, Investor Relations, Hershey Foods Corporation.
2002-present Vice President, Investor Relations, Hershey Foods Corporation (posted 2000)
Michael B. Fisher MBFDazzler@aol.com
I am now a superior court judge in New Jersey. A pretty august position for so abysmal a history major during my Dickinson years. (posted 2000)
Elizabeth Hanson Elizabeth.Hanson@nyack.edu
After graduation from Dickinson in 1966, I spent a year at UNC Chapel Hill doing graduate work in European History, Renaissance and Reformation era. After that I returned to the NY Metro area to finish my Masters at Montclair State University and earn secondary school certification. I taught history at Fair Lawn (NJ) High School for ten years, retired to raise children, and have now returned to academe as Registrar for the Adult Degree Program at Nyack College. (posted 2000)
Richard Weigel Richard.Weigel@wku.edu
I am pleased to hear from you and the Dickinson History Department. I am in my third year as Head of the History Department at Western Kentucky University. My post-Dickinson graduate training was at the University of Delaware (M.A. 1968, Ph.D. 1973). I taught at Delaware and Rhode Island before coming to Western Kentucky in 1976. I also spent two summers at the American Academy in Rome on N.E.H. summer seminar grants and am a visiting scholar at Oxford University (Wolfson College).
Check me out at http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Academic/AHSS/History (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1967
William Diefenderfer III firstname.lastname@example.org
There is little doubt in my mind that a Liberal Arts education was a key factor in any accomplishments I have been able to achieve since leaving Dickinson College. I had a double major of History and English. Both disciplines have been of specific and substantial help in ways to numerous to detail. But as an example I can point to my first venture after Dickinson. I enrolled in law school. The study of law was fascinating. Writing skills developed at Dickinson were critical to success in that effort. The study of law is in a large part a study of History. It also had aspects of literature, psychology, social studies. The skills developed at Dickinson in those disciplines contributed to my success in law school and after.
The Liberal Arts education has given me confidence to venture into many varied areas in my life. Rather than try to recount them here I have attached a resume which may be of interest. The resume does not reflect that three years ago I started a software company which is still chugging along, but is far from successful at this point in time. (posted 2000)
Peter Jacobson email@example.com
Let me first note that I received a first-rate education from the History Department that has been useful in every job I've held. As I noted when Professor Clarke Garrett retired, my training as a history major stimulated a life-long interest in history and provided the skills for continued learning, analysis, and exploring new areas. I attribute whatever intellectual curiosity I have to the incredible mentoring I received in the History Department.
Since graduating from Dickinson, I've had a number of different jobs, but my current position is perhaps most applicable to my training in history. Right now, I am an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where I teach courses on health law. My current research involves the role of the courts in shaping health policy and adolescent tobacco control. Next Spring, my coauthored book entitled Combating Teen Smoking: Research and Policy Strategies will be published by the University of Michigan Press. And I am currently finishing a book, tentatively titled Strangers in the Night: Law and Medicine in the Managed Care Era.
In each book, I try to frame the subject within its historical context. My sense is that you can't understand current policy debates, such as over tobacco control and other public health policy issues, without understanding the historical context in which they operate. For example, I will be arguing in Strangers in the Night that the contentious relationship between attorneys and physicians can only be understood by examining the historical context which helped produced such antagonism. After an introductory chapter that explains the current issues in health law, the next two chapters explore the history of the relationship between law and medicine. Then I begin to discuss how the courts have helped shape the current health policy environment. I conclude with a series of recommendations that attempt to reconcile their differences. By framing the problem in historical terms, I will show why the professions' differences mattered more in a fee-for- service health care environment.
The book on adolescent tobacco control strategy follows a similar strategy. By explaining how tobacco control policy has developed over the past century, my coauthors and I are able to frame how ongoing debates over how to regulate tobacco products have changed over time. Readers will, I hope, better understand how the current policy debate has been shaped by what came before it.
In short, my history training plays a central role in how I approach research and writing. But more than that, it plays a central role in how I think about public policy, about how and why our civic institutions operate as they do, and what kinds of policy suggestions I should include in my published work. It also influences how I teach. I begin virtually every lecture with a historical background of the issue and how it has developed. Providing the historical context allows students to explore the issues they will confront as health care executives or public health policymakers with greater nuance and comprehension. (posted 2000)
Bill Sarno firstname.lastname@example.org
resident of Bristol Ct last 16 years
married to Ellen
son William A. 13 years old
editor of The Bristol Press daily newspaper
previously editor of several weekly newspapers in New Jersey and CT
was editor of a business magazine
History helps in many ways: in providing perspective of different current events, knowledge of how to do research, respect for the past as an indicator of the future. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1968
Jerry Bookin-Weiner email@example.com
I very much like your idea of creating an alumni section on the department's web page, though I don't know how interested current majors will be in reading about someone who graduated as long ago as I did--1968. Anyhow, here goes . . .
After graduating from Dickinson with a history major in 1968 I enrolled in the Graduate Program at Columbia University--both the History Department and the Middle East Institute. My interest in the Middle East was sparked by my participation in a semester-length study abroad program in Israel my junior year. While at Columbia I specialized in modern Middle East history with a minor field in American Diplomatic history. Over my three years there my interests pushed me in the direction of Morocco and the US relationship with Morocco at the time of the American revolution (and just after), when Morocco became the first country to recognize the US. In the summer of 1971, I participated in an Arabic language program sponsored by the University of Texas in Casablanca. Having finished everything except my dissertation, I intended to remain in Morocco after the program and wound up joining the Peace Corps and teaching English and American Studies at the National Forestry School and in the English Department of Mohammed V University. I finally finished my degree in 1976, and began an academic career at Old Dominion University in Virginia. Very quickly I moved into International Programs administration and have now been in that field for 24 years (11 at ODU, 13 at Bentley College in Massachusetts, and now as the Regional Director for North America for Middlesex University in London). I've been involved in many grant programs to enhance the international dimensions of general education at ODU and Bentley, started numerous study abroad programs for students and faculty, led faculty development programs in Ivory Coast and Tanzania (1983), Israel and Egypt (1984), Morocco (1990), Estonia (1992), Brazil and Mexico (1996), and Bahrain (1997), and advised students running Model UN conferences for high school, college and middle school students.
The start and encouragement I received from the History Department at Dickinson was critical in all of this. At the time, no one at Dickinson knew anything about the areas I was interested in pursuing, but they were more than willing to be flexible enough to help me pursue those interests through independent study, independent reading courses and an honors project that was really outside their areas of expertise. Without that flexibility, I might never have been able to follow the path described above. (posted 2000)
2002 up-date: I am now the Executive Director of International Programs at Colorado
Susan Frey firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very sorry but I'm afraid I didn't choose a very historical path. For a number of years right after graduation, in 1968, I was in the computer industry. After my children were in school I went back to a local college and got a degree in accounting, becoming a CPA. I am now completely retired, thank goodness!
I do, however, think this contacting of former history majors is an excellent idea. (posted 2000)
Mark Hammond email@example.com
My name is Mark Hammond. I graduated from Dickinson College in the class of '68, although most of my friends were either in the class of '67 or '69. It makes for a lack of interest in college reunions. It was my original plan to do a double major in history and Spanish literature, although what navigators would call a mid-course correction and took two semesters of accounting. The person who most influenced my study of history was Mr. Standish, a junior high school teacher in the Andrew W. Mellon Junior High School, Mount Lebanon [Pittsburgh suburb]. I did not like the Western Civilization History Course which I took at Dickinson as a freshman, and that course would have been sufficient to encourage me to completely stay away from history. I decided that I liked history when I took English History at Dickinson during the academic year 1965-1966. It was taught by Gerald Belcher, a non-tenure track professor who was hired while Henry Young was on sabbadical.
While I was at Dickinson, I did not specialize in either world or American history, I just wanted to take the courses necessary for the degree. Nevertheless, my main interest in history was in 17th Century English History, the English Civil War, Cromwell, and the Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland.
I was basically one of those "pre-law" history majors. It seems like a lot of students at Dickinson College are "pre-law" majors, whether they major in English, history, political science, psychology, or whatever. If you are a pre-law student, it doesn't really matter what you major in. The essential thing is that you develop an analytical and critical mind. The law is geared to that system of analysis. An important course for history majors is Historiography. It was taught by Warren Gates when I was an undergraduate. The main point I remember from the course is the statement: "History is not what happened, it is what people think happened." The emphasis is on analysis, as well as comment by contemporary and revisionist historians.
If I had it to do over again, I may have majored in Spanish instead of History. I enjoyed the Spanish courses I had with Mac Barrick and with Enrique Martinez-Vidal. I have traveled to Spain, and I have a great desire to spend a few months in Buenos Aires becoming a milonguero. There is something fascinating about the Argentine tango. You can learn some tango in the Washington metropolitain area, but to really learn it, you must go to Buenos Aires.
The era of the Vietnam War interrupted my education and career. Much of the Class of 1968 became the U. S. Army Class of 1970. I did not take ROTC in college, and I did not like the thought of people shooting at me. The military draft caught me--I was called up before there was a "lottery" selection of draftees. I was trained as a military policeman, and I served 17 months in Germany at a special weapons ordnance depot.
Two weeks after my military service was completed, I enrolled at Dickinson School of Law (the law school down the street from the college). During the summers, I clerked for a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia. It was at that time that I decided that I did not want to be a personal injury lawyer. I did not have a distinguished law school career, did not have a family law firm to go into, so I decided to go into trust administration (working for a trust department of a bank).
Within a year of starting at the bank, I decided to get a Masters of Business Administration degree by going to night school at Shippensburg. Because my undergraduate degree was in liberal arts, I had to take a lot of what were deemed to be "pre-core" courses to get the background I needed for the grad business courses. It took me 7 years of going to night school to get the degree. No, the degree did not really help me in my job. Whether an MBA helps depends on the employer. I probably would have been better off changing jobs at that point.
Career-wise, my orientation changed from being a trust administrator to becoming a regulatory compliance officer. At a small bank, this meant a lot of different things: many compliance matters are similar to those of a bank auditor, and some were similar to those of an in-house counsel. Additionally, I was still secretary of the trust committee at that bank.
I reached a point where I still had a desire to continue my education, but along a completely different line. I decided I wanted to get a Masters degree in Psychology from Shippensburg. I had taken Psych 101 at Dickinson, but decided not to go on with the study of psych at Dickinson because I had a "visiting professor from Gettysburg College" who was filling in while somebody in the Dickinson Psych department was on sabbadical. That gentleman was not a good teacher. Also, I did not like the idea of handling rats in an Experimental Psychology course. Shippensburg has a good Psychology department (about 5 times as many psych professors as Dickinson has) with the possibility of specialization in social/cognitive psychology. Getting the Psych Masters was a degree I wanted to take for my own purposes, not for any particular job advancement. I do have a background in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, as well as psychopharmacology. A masters degree in psychology does not qualify me to be a therapist or counselor, but it gives me a better understanding of people, whether they be family members, co-workers, or business clients.
The basic orientation of a liberal arts education is to give a broad, rounded background in many different disciplines of the arts and sciences. You do not study the liberal arts with an attitude that it will help you get a job like getting a degree in engineering or accounting will help you get a job. The purpose of a liberal arts education is to provide that broad background in the arts and sciences, as well as to train the critical mind. Liberal arts graduates do get jobs. They do go to law school, on to MBA programs, and some of them even go on to other grad programs. Some of them go directly into full-time programs, and some get jobs and continue by going to night school. The hallmark of the liberal arts student is a commitment to excellence and a desire to achieve. Our society, with the atmosphere of job changing, mergers and business changes, requires people to be nimble, always upgrading their set of skills, and being open to the future. A person's education does not end with the bachelor of arts degree. (posted 2000)
Tom McCormick firstname.lastname@example.org
US Army Military Intelligence (Ret)
It took a couple of years for the uses of my degree in history, other than as a fish wrapper, to become obvious. When it happened, however, it was with a rush. Upon graduation (1968) I was commissioned as an artillery officer in the US Army. After about 3 years service, I transferred to the Military Intelligence branch. In mid-June of 1974, I reported to an assignment which I had never even thought of: duty as the Intelligence
Plans Officer at Allied Forces Landsoutheast, the NATO Army Group Headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. As a young army captain in a somewhat volatile region of the world, it occurred to me that I had better get to know what was going on. Professors Pflaum, Rhyne, et al had stressed that a basic knowledge of the facts was critical to any attempt to make sense of them. What better way acquaint myself with the facts than to look at the history of the area, with emphasis on the issues between Greece and Turkey, as well as the issues related to the treaties governing the use of the Bosphorus and Dardenelles and the Aegean Sea. With a couple of weeks work and research, I was able to put together an outline of the events of the relatively recent past, including some notes on the exploits of Colonel George Grivas, Archbishop Makarios, Major Jaloud, Colonel Khaddafi, Arik Sharon, Hafez Assad, the good Doctor Habbash, and any number of other endearing characters resident in the area. Much to my surprise, those papers came in very handy in short order. In early July, a flash cable from the US Embassy in Nicosia came into the US communications element at Izmir: "Gunfire at the presidential palace: more to follow" The Greek Cypriots had staged what turned out to be a not very well thought out coup. Our boss, the Commander, Allied Land Forces Southeastern Europe (a US Army General named Melvin Zais) was in the UK giving the Kermit Roosevelt Lecture to the Royal United Services Institute. Naturally he wanted to be kept VERY MUCH up to date on what was going on...war was about to break out between the two key Allied nations in his command. In the immediate flurry of activity, it became imperative to tell him and other senior officers what was going on, and why. Turns out the research skills I had absorbed from Professors Pflaum, Kellogg, Rhyne, et al, came in handy: We answered the boss's initial questions within an hour, and managed to keep all abreast of a very fluid situation. For the rest of the 1974 Cyprus crisis I was, as a young captain, given virtually unlimited access to the General and other senior officers to keep them up to date and provide my feeble attempts at analysis. Guess it must have worked . . . at least I wasn't fired. And, I watched history unfold from a ringside seat.
Moreover, when General Zais announced his retirement in 1976, I got a call from his executive officer indicating that the General wanted to see me privately. When a four star calls, it behooves young captains to hustle. I was in his office in about 5 minutes. What I was given by the General was a most unique opportunity to participate in the preservation of primary source history. I was informed by the General that he had three full footlockers of personal papers in the US classified storage area. I was given the mission, to the exclusion of any other duties, of reviewing those papers and making a recommendation as to which were to be destroyed, which were to go to the General's personal collection, and which were to go the Chief of US Military History for the Army collection (now the Army History Institute at Carlisle Barracks). General Zais was a man of many accomplishments. He had been a member of the original Airborne Test Battalion formed under the Colonel Hamilton Howze at Fort Benning, Georgia. As one of the youngest Colonels in the US Army, he led the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Invasion of Southern France in July of 1944 (the "Champaign Campaign") As a more senior Colonel, he led the US training team which trained and deployed the Turkish Army forces sent to Korea in the bitter winter of 1951. As a Major General, he had commanded the 101st Airborne Division during the intense fighting at "Hamburger Hill" in Vietnam. As a Lieutenant General, he had been the J-3 (Operations Officer) of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff during September of 1970 ("Black September"). And, as a General, he had been the senior US military officer in the region during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. His notes, memoranda, letters, and personal messages concerning all of these events were in those files. For two weeks I had an absolutely fascinating glimpse into history as seen by one of the actors. I read the transcripts of telephone conversations between Lieutenant General Zais and King Hussein of Jordan concerning the failed Jordanian rescue attempt at the airfield where the three highjacked airliners were held by Dr. Habbash's PFLP. I read the full transcript of the hearings in which Senator Kennedy accused Major General Zais of something close to murder as a result of Hamburger Hill, and saw the general's eloquent (and unreported) response to the good senator. And I read a number of other documents concerning more recent history that I still cannot discuss.
In the years after 1976, I was assigned to a variety of duty positions requiring use of the approach to thinking that came from my degree. For example, I served a tour as a senior intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency working on major issues related to the readiness of Soviet forces. During that tour, I was called upon to brief the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as well as other senior officers and members of Congress. Following that tour, I was assigned to a joint US-German office at the Embassy in Bonn where I served as a technical advisor to the German military, worked with the Minister of Defense, and wound up attending NATO meetings as a member of the German delegation . . . a bit unusual, but hey, who worries about the odd accent in the group.
In the process, I earned a MA in International Relation/Strategic Studies and an MS in Systems Management. I wound up functionally illiterate in five languages, and saddle sore from travel to and from various destinations around the world. I never lacked for stimulating topics of discussion, although at times, there were very few people with whom I could discuss the matters at hand. I am certain that my degree helped to make that all possible. In the line of work I wound up in, it was the rock of my foundation. In twenty years of an Army career, and in more than 12 hears since retirement, the lessons I learned in Denny Hall have been extremely valuable. As General Zais said to me in one of our first meetings: "Mac, I can always hire guys who know how . . . I need to know WHY". Dickinson provided those skills and allowed me to achieve whatever success I have. Would I recommend such a degree to other young undergrads??? Nah . . . not unless you like having an opportunity to see history unfold as a participant. BTW: turns out that history IS a contact sport. (posted 2000)
James Murphy Jamesmurphy360@aol.com
Oh the stories I could tell! I still love history but, alas, I went on to become an Oral/ Maxillofacial Surgeon inspired by being a Medic in Vietnam following my graduation from Dickinson. I would like to be a History Professor when I retire from surgery. I have lots of personal experiences to share. Professor Pflaum was the one of Dickinson's finest. (posted 2000)
Robert Schiff Robert.Schiff@kp.org
This is a belated response to your request for information from alumni who graduated with a history major from Dickinson. I actually graduated with a double major in History and Psychology and went on to get a Ph.D. in psychology and have happily work as a clinical psychologist. But for me, the study of history, which was my love coming into Dickinson and retains a special pleasure for me, demonstrates how a non-segmented nature of a liberal arts education informs and enhances the spectrum of our lives. The history, as well as fiction, poetry, and other things I read, continually inform the psychotherapy I do and make me a better therapist.
I had great experiences with the History Department during my time at Dickinson. I specifically became interested in American history during my junior year in high school while taking AP American history. As a result of having AP credit, during my freshman year I had an American history tutorial with Dr. Warren Gates. While frankly I was not always as prepared as I should have been, he was wonderfully patient, informative and helped the history come alive. The other professor I remember well was Dr. Kellogg. His passion for civil rights and the flow of American history made going to class an energizing experience.
Thanks for opportunity to share with you and my fellow Dickinsonians. (posted 2000)
Cynthia Schwenk email@example.com
I have done quite a lot with my degree from D'son. Went on to U of Missouri on the encouragement of Philip Lockhart; spent a couple years of my graduate work in Greece and was lucky enough to get this position at GSU in 1978. (posted 2000)
Paul Silverman firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for thinking of me in sending your notice of introduction . . . best of luck. I had some great learning experiences there and Dr. Young was a great educator is his field. (posted 2000)
Hank Sorett HPSATTY@aol.com
I am the managing partner of a small law firm in Boston. My practice focuses on representing major public utilties in large fire, explosion, and disaster litigation all across the country. In addition to cases in Massachusetts, I have litigation pending in Arkansas, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Over the past ten years, I've also done cases in Oklahoma, Maine, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Florida.
I am active in politics and am on the Democratic Town Committee in Sudbury,
Massachusetts. I have been a delegate to the past 23 Democratic State Conventions. This year, I'm working to support Shannon O'Brien's efforts to become the first woman elected governor in Massachusetts. I plan to work on John Kerry's presidential campaign next year. It's time to send King George Jr. back to Texas--hopefully before he causes hundreds of young American soldiers to come home in body bags. History does teach us that when American presidents act like imperialists, they rip the country apart. I was in college during Vietnam and recall vividly the damage that war did. When I hear George Jr. talk about Iraq, I hear Lyndon Johnson. Unless there is a truly compelling reason to put our boys in harm's way, I think his efforts on Iraq are folly. Ted Kennedy today sounds the same themes I heard from his brother Bobby during the spring of my senior year. (posted 2000)
Don Zane CLAssoc@aol.com
I am pleased to have a history degree from Dickinson. This degree [not] only keeps me interested in history--past and present--it has provided me a continuing interest in my readings of history and a keen interest in politics, locally and nationally. I have also been doing research on the history of my fraternity at Dickinson and hopefully in the next year or so will be able to send a copy of my findings to the college for their archives and for the fraternity so they have a detailed history of the chapter and its members. You may not be aware of the contributions many Dickinsonians have made to the history of this country and I hope my small presentation concerning my fraternity brothers will aid the current and further members of the chapter and the college at large. I understand what a good Dickinson education means. We have been on
Dickinson's campus since 1859 continuously and many of the members have had very interesting and exciting lives--that is the hardest part of the research--getting the individual histories and contributions but it is also fun. I hope the history majors and other students are enjoying the archives at Dickinson--I was really impressed with what has been done in the basement of the library--a far cry from what was available when I was there. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1969
Ed Beck EBeck@beckmfg.com
I graduated from Dickinson as a History major in 1969. During my senior year (I graduated in 3 years) I wrestled with law or teaching as vocations. After scoring very well on my LSAT and poorly on my GREs (had to have been a bad night before), I settled on law school (although I had thought all along that I would be drafted instead of doing either just then but it didn't happen). I felt that my history major was an excellent preparation for law school, particularly the discipline of frequently writing papers. I love history and still do. I practiced law for nine years, dabbled in politics, worked as a political appointee to the US Treasury Department and eventually helped start a family business and serve as its CEO today.
The one piece of advice I would give history majors is to love history but consider careers relatively early in college. PhD? Law? Business? Peace Corps? Politics?. . . whatever but consider it. It might be a history major with a few economics courses and computer competency will be enough to land a great entry level job in the business world or at least a slightly broader than ordinary liberal arts perspective. I know the last few years it hasn't mattered what folks have majored in or what skill sets they have to get a great job. That will change. I believe a history major with a variety of skill sets is an excellent preparation for a variety of careers. Just make sure that you get the skill sets for the fields you're interested in. After all, your first career will probably not be your only career. I would be happy to talk to students or alums. (posted 2000)
James Ebert email@example.com
My history major definitely has played a part in my life. I have worked for the US National Park Service for over 30 years and started out at Morristown National Historic Park giving tours of the historic buildings and battle field areas. At present I work in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance at Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There are two sister parks that have an historic theme (Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site). While most of my work deal with endangered species, wetland protection, and park legal mandates, I must also be aware of historic or cultural issues that may relate to any actions planned in the park. Cultural landscapes, archeology, and administrative history are part of my daily work at times. I would be glad to talk with students or alumni if needed. (posted 2000)
John Fee JTFee@aol.com
I'm grateful to the other posters for calling to mind some of the great professors (e.g., Rhyne, Pflaum, Young, Garrett, Gates) that I saw not only during class but afterwards and sometimes in their homes with their families. I'm sure that no large university could have given me that experience.
Carlisle itself is a great place for a history major. It was the frontier for 70 years, and I enjoyed the thought that Washington, Franklin, other Founders, and Ed Beck had walked around the same streets. When the bicentennial celebration of the Constitution came around, did the citizens of Carlisle burn a copy of it again? I enjoyed jogging on Jim Thorpe's old Indian School track at the War College and hearing accounts of hijinks of other Redskins at the Walnut Bottom Tavern.
Oddly enough, my favorite history course at Dickinson was not taught in the history department. It was historical geology, and I still enjoy what I learned so many years ago.
I recently retired from the Army Reserves, where I was an adjunct professor at the Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Although I have lectured on the battle of Gettysburg (I have a biography project in mind for one underappreciated Civil War general) I thought my mostsignificant contribution was introducing the English language to the Army officers (mostly with last names beginning with "R" or "S") whose papers I graded.
In my civilian career, I similarly try to introduce the English language to young tax lawyers clerking at the U.S. Tax Court, where I am the Reporter of Decisions It is tough work, but I know that all of you who complete tax forms support my efforts.
In my civic life (an honorary Lord Fairfax one year) I've written or dragged history articles into every newsletter in every organization that I've joined. I think that every experience is better for knowing the context in which it occurred, and I try to share that love of history whenever and wherever I can. (posted 2000)
Robert J. Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
I always wanted to be a history professor and tried to prepare for that career during my undergraduate years at Dickinson. Following two years in the Army (during Vietnam), I pursued an M.A. in History at Lehigh, which provided me with major scholarship and fellowship assistance. Instead of pursuing a Ph.D. (at U. Penn), I accepted a position at County College of Morris (CCM), a NJ community college. I taught history and govenment classes at CCM for twelve years, the last six of which I served as Chair of the twelve-person History and Political Science Department. Instead of pursuing a Ph.D., I decided to enhance my growing interest in law and politics by attending law school part-time at Seton Hall University. I received a J.D. in 1979, and then combined a law practice with college teaching from 1979-85.
In 1985 I left CCM and practiced law full-time, mostly in the area of municipal law. I also became increasingly involved in politics. Following appointive and elective office at the local level, I was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly, where I served from 1985-93. In 1993, I always wanted to be a history professor and tried to prepare for that position. I am Chair of the Senate Education Committee and have sponsored numerous laws regarding education, law enforcement, and the environment.
In 1990, I gave up the practice of law after being offered the opportunity to teach full-time at Seton Hall Law School. My current position at SHLS is Director and Professor of the Center of State and Local Government Law. I teach several required and elective courses. I have found my history background helpful in teaching property law (because of its reliance on English common law), American Legal History and constitutional law. In 1993, I earned an LL.M. from NYU Law School, and am currently in the process of completing a dissertation at Teachers College, Columbia University.
I have never regretted being a history major at Dickinson. For someone like me who has been extensively involved in public service and law (besides teaching), it has provided a good foundation for my career interests. And when I am not working, I spend a lot of my leisure time reading, most often history and biographies. (posted 2000)
Ed Polloway Polloway_E@mail.lynchburg.edu
Thanks for your note. I am now VP for College & Community Advancement at Lynchburg College. My academic area here is special education which is the area in which I completed my doctorate. The key uses of my degree have been 2: emphasizing w/in my "new" discipline historical aspects of the field which have enabled me to put contemporary practice in a much wider context in both my teaching & scholarship & on a recreational level, continued great interest in reading historical books, bios, etc. (posted 2000)
Mary Stuart Smith MJSMITH2@aol.com
I am a history graduate from the days when Dr. Gates was chair of the department. I don't know how much of what I did after Dickinson was shaped by majoring in history, and how much was shaped by him. At any rate, I got a master's degree at Wake Forest, concentrating on the period between the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution.
At Wake Forest, I became interested in American decorative arts, and made a quasi-career out of being a docent at various house museums around the country, depending upon where my husband's job took us. I have also been a guide at the Hirschorn (I actually was trained before the museum opened, and was taking tours through on opening day), the National Cathedral, the Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, MA and various National Trust properties. I also designed the tours of the American art collection in the Berkshire Museum. I taught American history in the Fairfax County school system for three years to seventh graders, and am currently working for a trade association in Washington, DC. Along the way I raised three children, now in their mid-twenties. The question I always ask, whatever I am doing, is "how did things get this way?". Is that a Dr. Gates lesson, or a trait characteristic of history majors? Thanks for establishing contact. (posted 2000)