Emory University Department of History
Newsletter-No. 53 November 2009

The Chair's Corner

Kristin Mann

Hello, again, from the History Department Chair. It is my pleasure to update you on major events within the collective life of the department.

AY 2008-2009 was a time of change, challenge, and accomplishment for the History Department, as we imagine it was for you. Tom Burns retired from teaching in January, after a long and distinguished career at Emory. Shortly before he and his wife Carol relocated to Duluth, Minnesota, we celebrated Tom’s many professional achievements and contributions at a delightful evening gala. Yanna Yannakakis (University of Pennsylvania Ph.D., 2003), our newest faculty member accepted our position in colonial Latin American history in May. She arrived from Montana State University with her husband and 2 daughters. Meanwhile, our search for the Betty Gage Holland Chair in Roman History continues.

The History Department’s dedicated and able staff also celebrated milestones this year. Rosalyn Page, our Academic Department Administrator, retired last July after twenty-seven years of service. While we were sorry to see her go, we were fortunate to hire Marcy Alexander to succeed her. Marcy came to the History Department with many years of previous employment at Emory in the Graduate School, the Provost’s office, and ITD, and she quickly mastered her new position. Patricia Stockbridge, currently our Graduate Program Coordinator, celebrated thirty years of continuous service to the History Department in the spring, while Becky Herring, our Undergraduate Program Coordinator, completed fifteen and Allison Rollins, our Accountant, completed ten. Where would we be without our wonderful staff?

Promotions from within are always gratifying. This year we are pleased to announce Marina Rustow’s promotion to Associate Professor with tenure and Mark Ravina’s and Sharon Strocchia’s promotions to Full Professor. The accomplishments of our other faculty have been no less news worthy. In December, the on-line version of Voyages: the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, a joint project of David Eltis and the Woodruff Library, was launched at a major public international symposium. In addition, Patrick Allitt, Tonio Andrade, Clifton Crais, Jeffrey Lesser, Jamie Melton, Mary Odem, Gyan Pandey, and Jim Roark published either new books or new editions of previous ones. Joe Crespino was awarded a prestigious Center for Teaching and Curriculum undergraduate teaching award, and Ken Stein received the Cuttino Mentoring Award. The many other accomplishments of our faculty are included in their individual newsletter entries.

Turning to our students, we joyfully graduated seventy-one majors or joint majors in May, six with B.A./M.A. degrees and thirteen with Honors. Moreover, eleven graduate students completed Ph.D.s in the department this year. They will begin teaching this fall at such fine institutions as the Citadel, Dennison University, the University of Denver, Georgia State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of San Francisco. Be sure to see our new feature, Student Awards and Accolades, for information about this year’s undergraduate and graduate student prize winners.

At a time of economic retrenchment within the university, the past and present generosity of our graduates and friends has become ever more important to the History Department. It has enabled us, following deep cuts in our operating budget and graduate student lines, not only to honor and support our undergraduate and graduate students with prizes and scholarships, but also to sustain our basic operations. In AY 2009-2010, for the first time, a Ph.D. student will matriculate supported by a fellowship funded by income from the department’s small endowment.

We welcome and appreciate gifts of any size, which can be made by sending a check to the History Department Fund, Department of History, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322. Contributions can also be made by clicking the “Make a Gift” link on the University’s home page and then scrolling down to “other” under the “Select Direction” option. In the box labeled “other” then write History Department Fund” before completing the further information requested.

Until next year, we wish you and yours our very best. Do come see us when you are in Atlanta.

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