History Majors Spearhead Debate

On February 18th and 19th, the Saint Anselm College Debate Team competed at the Emerson College Tournament and the Northeast Regional Championships held at Suffolk University. The team finished first place in both competitions for overall Debate Sweepstakes. Of the twelve members of the team, five are history majors: Greg Valcourt ’19, William Bearce ’19, Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18, Drew Collins ’19, and Ed Frankonis ’19. Both Frankonis and Collins competed at the tournaments, Collins finishing second place in Lincoln-Douglas policy debate at Emerson College and third place in the IPDA debate at the Regional Championships. Frankonis finished first place in Lincoln Douglas policy debate at the Regional Championships and second place in IPDA at Emerson.

Frankonis, a sophomore History major from Maine, chose Saint Anselm College for the small size of the student body. As he explains, “It seemed like it would be easier to get involved here.” As a history major, Frankonis enjoys finding “answers to the questions we ask about our society’s problems . . . in past answers.” One Thing after Another sat down with Frankonis to discuss his recent debate victories and the skills he has developed through the study of history.

The two variations of debate require different preparations and skills. In the Lincoln-Douglas policy debate, students receive a topic in July or August. This year’s topic was the role of the military in Latin America. As Frankonis explains, the debaters “argue for and against the resolution during the tournament.  In each round, you try to defend your evidence, promote your side of the aisle, and try to ‘take away’ parts of your opponent’s argument. The round lasts around twenty minutes, and at the end of it, the judge gives his/her decision.” Preparation for these kinds of debate tournaments is time consuming: “Lincoln-Douglas debaters prepare by meeting twice a week and dedicating around 3-4 hours during those times polishing our cases, refining our arguments, and plugging any holes that were discovered during last tournament. . . 5-6 hours of non-meeting preparation are usually involved for Lincoln-Douglas.”

IPDA, or International Public Debate Forum, on the other hand, tests general knowledge and speaking skills more than the research skills demanded in the Lincoln-Douglas policy debate. According to Frankonis, two debaters “arrive and are given a list of five or so topics. They take turns ‘striking’ each topic, until only one remains  Both debaters then get thirty minutes to prepare an argument (for or against, depending on your role), and then spend around twenty minutes arguing for or against said topic. These topics can range from which superhero is better to the morality of drone warfare, and change each round. After the round, the debaters leave, and the judge makes his/her decision.”

Farnkonis’s dominant performances can be attributed to a supportive team, skills he learns in class, and a lot of practice. After each tournament, the debaters receive ballots from judges that are “chock-full of feedback.” After the team reads this feedback, “[they] share [their] general experiences at the tournament, [and they] exchange insight, share advice, and talk about the mistakes [they] made during rounds.”

Frankonis credits his debate skills to his previous three years of experience in mock Senate debate in high school, as well as the skills he has developed as a history major: “Knowing how institutions came about, how problems evolved, and the stories of the various actors involved in those problems gives debaters a nice edge in round. . . . Other skills learned from being a history major include research skills and the ability to smoothly transition from one debate format to another.” Frankonis thinks skills learned in debate help him in the classroom as well: “being a debater means you are actively learning skills that can be employed in debates over the consequences of historical events.”

After his first-place finish in Lincoln-Douglas policy debate at the Regional Championships, Frankonis received an invite to the National competition. Unfortunately, due to a family commitment, Frankonis will not be attending.  Next year, he plans to permanently and exclusively switch to IPDA, “focusing more on being well-rounded with [his] topic knowledge.”

The debate team currently meets on Mondays and Thursdays on the third floor of Goulet, from 6:30-8:30.

NOTE: In the photograph above, from left to right, are Drew Collins, Greg Valcourt, Ed Frankonis, Lily-Gre Hitchen, and William Bearce. 


History Students Rock the NEHA Fall Conference

History 359 Class Celebrating

On a recent fall Saturday, eight Saint Anselm College History majors and minors, one Saint Anselm College alum, and Professor Beth Salerno headed down to the New England Historical Association Conference held at Rivier University in Nashua, NH. The New England Historical Association (NEHA) is the regional branch of the American Historical Association (the largest professional organization for historians in America) and offers a conference twice a year. Professor Sean Perrone currently serves as its Treasurer.

Professor Salerno, Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18, and Sarah Hummel ’19 presented research they did in History 359 American Women’s History (see our related post). Other history majors and minors came along to experience their first history conference and explore areas of particular interest. One Thing after Another caught up with the attendees to find out what they learned at the conference.

Q: What made you decide to propose a faculty/student panel for this conference?

Professor Salerno: During the American Women’s History course, I collaborated with Professor Laura Prieto at Simmons College, sharing assignments and research materials. She suggested that we put together a panel for NEHA so our students could experience a professional history conference. I agreed and we wrote up a proposal for a Roundtable on “Teaching and Learning Historical Skills through a Crowdsourced Women’s History Project.” It included the two of us as Chair and Commentator, plus two Saint Anselm undergraduate students, one Simmons College undergraduate, and two Simmons College graduate students.

Q: What motivated the students to participate on the panel?

Sarah Hummel ’19 (History): I agreed to present my research experience because I was eager to share with other students and educators the lessons that the project taught me. The NEHA Conference seemed like the perfect place to network and share my experience as a historian with like-minded history students and professors.

Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18 (History) It was an opportunity in itself to be able to reflect on work in front of an interested audience. There are many times I have completed a research paper for class that I am very proud of, but the paper is never seen by anyone besides my professor. I was also excited to be able to express my enthusiasm about the assignment, because the crowdsourcing project was a memorable process for me.

Q: It must have been a bit intimidating to give a presentation in front of professional historians.

Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18 (History): I learned that it is important to relax. When I was preparing my talk, I was continuously second-guessing the language of my presentation. I wanted to use complicated diction to express my experiences, but I learned that simplifying the language is necessary for clarity. When giving the presentation, I realized that taking a few breaths to calm down really made a difference. Being too serious or too nervous can sometimes hurt a presentation, and calming down before speaking really makes a difference. It took a certain amount of confidence to be able to relax before the presentation, and this confidence came from trusting myself and my abilities.

Sarah Hummel ’19 (History): Presenting in a conference setting forced me to focus not just on paring down my ideas, but also expressions. I also learned that if you are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the information you are going to present, those two factors make presenting much less nerve-racking – but it’s okay to be a little nervous too!

Q: Did all the student attendees come to your session?

Professor Salerno: Whitney Hammond ’18, Alexis LaBrie ’18, and Chris Griebel (’16, now a fourth-grade teacher at St. Pius School, Lynn, MA) all attended our session. They had been part of the American Women’s History class and done the project as well. They contributed their observations about the impact and value of the project during the audience discussion. The rest of the students attended other sessions during the same time block. They had five choices during each block, giving them a wide variety of options.

Q: For those of you who were not presenting, what drew you to the conference?

Caitlin Williamson ’19 (History): I signed up for this conference because I had never done anything like this before and wanted to see what it was like. Before the event, I was a little nervous (despite not having to present anything) just because I wasn’t sure what to expect out of something like this!

Whitney Hammond ’18 (History): I signed up for the conference because as a senior history major I want to experience as much as I can before I graduate. I think attending this conference was a great opportunity for history majors because we were able to listen to historians and connect what they study to what we studied in our own history classes. It was also nice to be a part of a community of historians and listen to the work they dedicate themselves to.

Q: Can you describe your favorite session?

Cody Face ’20 (History): One panel I went to was War and Order. I found the presentation by Nathan Marzoli (Historian, US Army Center of Military History) rather intriguing. He discussed the 12th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, a Union regiment during the Civil War that fought at Chancellorsville. This battle happened to be one of the bloodiest of the Civil War, and a major Union defeat (It is often seen as one of Robert E. Lee’s greatest victories). Instead of focusing on the battle itself, Mr. Marzoli focused on the view of the soldiers. We heard about two brothers lying next to each other amidst the chaos of gunfire, shrapnel, and screams of agony when all of a sudden one of the brothers was shot and killed instantly. Such an incident was eye-opening in that it gave us a sense of what these soldiers faced. It added a sense of gravity to the Civil War, as if I myself was affected by it. His presentation was engaging, and his use of technology made it easy to imagine the battle being fought (he provided pictures of the battleground). All in all, it was a very effective performance on his part.

Lisette Labbè ’19 (Psychology Major and History Minor):  I went to one of the panels that discussed new and different historical approaches—which made me realize that although history is the study of the past, the discipline is still very much alive and adaptive. I think it’s fascinating to see historians find different ways to approach history, because it seems like there are many different approaches that have yet to be discovered.

Caitlin Williamson ’19 (History): My favorite panel of the day was focused on the 1860s and 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement. I immediately chose this panel because I’m in Professor [Andy] Moore’s Civil Rights Movement class this semester and was excited to see what different perspectives the papers on the panel would give me. My favorite paper out of the whole day was from this panel. It was on modern civil rights action and how college campuses are confronting their various histories, especially with notable alumni of many prominent institutions being slaveholders or having otherwise done something in the past that is unacceptable today. The professor had many examples at universities like Harvard and Yale, and her paper got me thinking more about how the Civil Rights Movement that is thought to be a thing of the 1950s and 60s is not over just yet.

Q: Did attending the conference change your sense of the past or the profession?

Alexis LaBrie ’18 (History and Criminal Justice Major): I gained a better sense that much of the historical profession is devoted to research. A person picks a topic that she find interesting and then she spend her whole life analyzing it. The other side of that is historians are constantly reevaluating moments in the past to incorporate new findings and perspectives. The questions that most commonly came up were, “What was the impact on the community/state/country?” I was struck by historians’ curiosity concerning the effect of the event and its lasting impact.

Sarah Hummel ’19 (History): Up until now, I thought the bulk of what historians did was researching and writing. This conference, both in presenting and in attending other panels, taught me that while writing and researching are important, the process of sharing this knowledge is just as important – and just as thrilling! It is comforting for me to have a better idea of how people can make a living and enjoy their career in a major that is often overlooked or underappreciated. Now, I am even more excited to be a history major – there are so many ways to share knowledge which are just as exciting as acquiring it.

Q: Would you recommend this opportunity to other history majors?

Whitney Hammond ’18 (History): I think it is a great opportunity for those interested in History, and I would definitely try to attend at least one conference before you graduate. I was even thinking of attending the next one because of how much I enjoyed it. It was really great to be surrounded by a community of people who all care about and appreciate history.

Lisette Labbè ’19 (Psychology Major and History Minor): I think more students should go to these conferences to really experience the culture of historians and learn about new topics that you may never have thought about. I think it is also a great opportunity to listen and learn about topics you are truly passionate about and to be able to talk to those scholars who specialize in it.

Caitlin Williamson ’19 (History): I learned from this conference how specific research such as this gets. Many papers looked at one specific individual, or a specific time period, rather than an entire group of people or a trend throughout decades. This was especially helpful as I look forward to possibly writing a thesis in the coming years. This conference presented me with examples of what historical research really looks like.

Gates Interns with the NH Department of Environmental Services


Recently, History and English double-major Ginger Gates ’17 (Pembroke, NH) was profiled in the Saint Anselm Crier because of her summer internship at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

One Thing after Another took advantage of this opportunity to ask Gates a few questions about her experiences over the summer

Q: One Thing After Another understands you interned with the NH Department of Environmental Services in Concord, NH this summer. What drew you to that internship?

A: I think it’s important for students and young people to be aware and well-informed about the environmental issues that the state and country as a whole face. I saw this internship as a crucial opportunity to learn more about the state of New Hampshire’s environmental concerns and to help address them in any way that I could. The NHDES Groundwater and Drinking Water Bureau’s archive of rules and regulations date back to the late 1800s; it was my job to organize these rules and create an online matrix of each rule and its different versions. This project combined two of my passions: history and law. From reading the rules alone, you can see distinct shifts in attitudes about water conservation and water safety. A state’s laws and regulations can really tell you a lot about what that state values. New Hampshire values its great outdoors, its lakes and mountains, and its bright fall foliage. Especially during this period of extreme drought, it’s important to understand the rules and why they are in place so that individuals and businesses can do their part in conserving water.

Q: How did your major in history and the skills you’ve learned in that major help you in this internship?

A: As a history major, one of the most important skills I’ve learned is how to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. While interviewing for this position, my employers were impressed by my ability to communicate well and effectively. Studying history has taught me to evaluate and solve problems efficiently. Because of the nature of my internship, I was given a lot of freedom to change how I approached creating the matrix. There were many times when these problem-solving skills were helpful in creating a clear, user-friendly, and accessible document.

Q: This must have been an interesting summer to work for that agency, given two key water issues happening in the state—extreme drought and ground water contamination with volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Were you working on anything related to these issues?

A: I wasn’t directly working on these issues, but when water safety and level is affected, everyone is affected. When my boss gave me opportunities to shadow fieldwork, it was evident how detrimental this summer’s drought has been. Lake Massabesic, the reservoir that supplies drinking water for the Manchester area, has dropped four feet over the summer to a level that hasn’t been seen in a hundred years. Many private well systems in the southern part of the state have gone dry in the past months. We take for granted how accessible water is, and when it’s not readily available, that entirely changes your perspective and how you go about your daily routine.

Q: Did you have an interest in environmental issues before this internship?

A: Yes. The problems of the environment are everyone’s problems. Regardless of whether or not climate change has been caused by human action, the issue remains. It is truly the most pressing concern my generation faces now and in the next fifty years.

Q: What benefits did you get from your internship?

A: As in all internships that require interacting with others, my communication and writing skills developed throughout the summer. The NHDES is a large and diverse office, and the people I worked with were a joy to get know, which makes any internship or job much more pleasant. Learning about individual water systems, how vital water is to our everyday lives, and how important the laws and regulations that govern water use and water filtration really gave me a new perspective on water use and enforcement. Only fifty years ago water filtration was just a few metal screens of varying size and a chemical treatment. We can thank the EPA and the Safe Drinking Water Act for the strict regulations that are now in place.

I’ve always been interested in pursuing a law degree after graduation, and this internship strengthened that desire. I had never thought of going into environmental law until this summer, but seeing how vital our natural resources are to our entire lives, it’s something I have an interest in.

Q: You are a senior this year. What are you most looking forward to in your last year at Saint Anselm College?

A: I’m really looking forward to completing my thesis—not only to have it done and not have to worry about it anymore, but to have a cohesive and substantial piece of writing to show future employers or schools.

I’ve developed a new appreciation for the beauty of nature, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this campus move through all the seasons, especially autumn. Hopefully the foliage will still be as colorful, despite the drought!

For the past four years, I’ve really developed great relationships with professors and fellow students. I’m looking forward to continuing to build those relationships and learning as much as I can before I’ve completed my undergraduate degree. There’s a lot to look forward to in the future, so I’m excited to see what it holds.


Burkart Back from Study Abroad in Italy

Jonathan Burkart

Last semester three history majors spent time abroad. One went to Germany and another explored Britain. History major Jonathan Burkart ’18 (Brooklyn, CT) went to Orvieto, Italy. One Thing after Another was curious about how his background in history influenced his encounter with the ancient Etruscans, the Romans, the medieval city-state, and modern Italy. We asked Jonathan about his experiences abroad as well as his thoughts about internships and careers.

Q: How did you come to be a history major? What inspired or influenced that choice?

A: History has always been my favorite subject. Since elementary school, I would soak up every piece of history in literature, my classes, and when visiting museums or parks with my family. I am lucky enough to have had a long list of exceptional teachers who helped increase my interest through fascinating classes and a genuine commitment to their students. My passion for history never abated, so it was a natural choice to major in it.

Q: You spent all of last spring semester in Orvieto, Italy as part of a Saint Anselm College study abroad program. What were your classes and experiences like?

A: It’s hard to summarize three extraordinary months in a few sentences. . . . I loved every minute of my study abroad experience. Perhaps the most incredible feature was our Chiavi class. In Chiavi (which translates to “keys”), we read about different parts of Italy’s history, such as Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, and then we would take a trip to Florence to see and “unlock” the history and culture. Orvieto and Italy are so rich in history, from ancient times to recent events, that practically every street showcases beautiful, culturally important elements that, when pieced together over a semester, create a breathtaking tapestry that speaks of history more eloquently than any single class could ever hope to. Our education came from talking with locals and from experiencing history first-hand.

Q: Did you find your background in European history affected how you experienced the semester abroad?

A: Before I studied in Orvieto, I took a Modern European course and a War and Revolution class, and both prepared me for Italian history very well. I have studied European history throughout my college and high school careers, but it was incredible to see my textbook pages come to life when walking through the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. My history classes affected my study abroad experience in that they enhanced my appreciation of every trip we made. Simply being in Italy is phenomenal, but comprehending the depth of walking on 2000-year-old cobblestones made the trip indescribably amazing.

Q: What are you looking forward to during this school year?

A: Catching up with friends that I haven’t seen since fall semester of last year and resuming classes probably top the chart of things I’m looking forward to this year, but Davison food is in a close third place.

Q: You often attend Admissions Open Houses as a history major, which we really appreciate. What do you say to high school students who are thinking about a history major but aren’t sure yet?

A: When I attend the Admissions Open Houses, the first question I get from prospective students is always, “But what if I don’t want to teach?” I think one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding history majors is that you can only become a teacher after college. While that is definitely an excellent option, there are more applications for a history major than you might think. While looking for an internship next semester, I discovered that the FBI is looking for history majors. The critical skills of researching and being able to present your information in a cogent, comprehensive manner is important for a large number of jobs, which is why I recommend taking history classes to anyone unsure of what he or she may want to do for a living. You never know, you just might discover a hidden passion while you’re at it.

Van Uden Wins Senior Major Award

Van Uden with St. Benedict

History major Kristen Van Uden graduated last week a proud member of the Class of 2016. She won the History Department Senior Major Award for her high GPA, engagement in multiple fields of history, and contributions to the discipline inside and outside the classroom. One Thing After Another asked her to reflect on her four years as a history major.

Q: What drew you to Saint Anselm College and led you to become a history major?

A: I entered Saint Anselm College undeclared, and was considering several humanities majors such as history, politics, English, etc. History truly encompasses all other fields: to understand a historical period in its fullness, you must take into consideration the period’s literature, economic trends, philosophical and theological trends, and, of course, political climate. The first history class I took as a freshman was Professor Dubrulle’s Modern Europe. One of the main ways we engaged with history was through literature and primary political sources, all against the philosophical background of the Enlightenment. I realized that studying history would fulfill my curiosity about all of these fields, and I couldn’t have made a better decision.

Q: How did you discover your love of the Russian language?

A: It was a very organic thing—I never rationalized it to myself. I was always fascinated by languages, and by the turbulent history of Russia. My interdisciplinary minor allowed me to take courses in Russian literature, politics, and history in addition to the language. I think a familiarity with the language let me engage more with these classes—for example, everything about Chechnya makes sense when you understand that Grozny, the name of its capital, means “terrible.” I even tried using a primary source in Russian for my thesis. Additionally, knowledge of Russian is especially relevant today. It’s a really fun, if difficult, language to learn, and since I have been studying Russian I’ve been compelled to study even more diverse languages—I’ve been studying Hebrew this year.

Q: We understand that a walking tour you designed is on sale at the Manchester Historic Association. How did that come about?

A: It originated as a project for Professor Salerno’s Applied History class designed to engage the students with public history in our surrounding community. Having grown up in Manchester, I had always wondered what the stories behind the city’s monuments were. Much of the information is available online or elsewhere, but I wanted to create a quick, accessible guide for anyone who wanted an introductory reference. I started the project hoping that only a few people would use it—and now they’re selling it at the Millyard Museum downtown! I hope people find it a helpful resource.

Q: You have also done other types of “public history” (history outside the classroom) during your four years. Could you tell us about your transcriptions for the New Hampshire Historical Society and your Oral Histories of Communism Project?

A: As part of my work as a research assistant, I transcribed a diary of an 18th/19th century farmer and potter from Concord, NH named Daniel Clark. His diary serves mainly as an almanac of the weather and a log of his work and sales, along with important family and community records detailing the timing of births, deaths, marriages, and so on. It has been a really interesting peek into the daily life and practices of the era. One thing that struck me was how hard Daniel had to work to keep up his business. I also loved reading entries about famous historic events—Daniel notes the elections of each new NH governor and mentions several battles of the War of 1812.

Doing this transcript prepared me for the transcripts I completed of my oral history interviews. I interviewed four individuals and will be interviewing at least one more this summer. My original goal was to gain skills in conducting oral histories while accruing knowledge about my topic: life under communism. My topic was soon broadened to stretch as far back as WWII because of the incredible people who were willing to speak with me. I was fascinated by the stories of these people and wanted to provide an outlet for them to share their family stories with a greater community. The interviews and transcripts will be archived at the New Hampshire Historical Society for research purposes.

In one interview, I talked to a 96-year-old gentleman who had been forced to join the Hungarian army as a chauffeur during WWII and then later rebuilt his life here in America. Connecting his personal story to research I had done helped me, of course, but I was also able to share information with him and his family that they didn’t know before—it was an educational experience both ways. Witnesses to historic events are indispensable primary sources, and the experiences and opinions shared with me have afforded me a fresh perspective on historic events. I have always loved reading memoirs, and to play an active role in helping others record their own sort of memoir was an unbelievable opportunity that I hope to continue with.

Q: You have really excelled in a wide variety of research in your history major. You did a senior thesis on King Michael’s 1944 Coup in Romania. Why did you choose that topic and what did you learn?

A: My senior thesis was entitled “Out of the Lager and Into the Gulag: Romanian Foreign Relations Before and After King Michael’s Coup.” The imagery I was going for with the title was that of a politically captive Romania, unable to make its own foreign policy decisions because of the overwhelming power of its neighbors, Nazi Germany and the USSR. I used Foreign Relations of the United States, a comprehensive collection published annually by the State Department comprised of correspondence between diplomats. I focused on the telegrams detailing the meetings between Romanian proponents of the coup and Allied representatives in Cairo during the summer of 1944. I traced the development of the offered armistice terms and came to the conclusion that King Michael’s coup, by which Romania transferred allegiance to the Allied side in August 1944, secured more favorable terms for Romania. The second part of my thesis focuses on how the Cold War took shape when the Soviets violated armistice terms in Romania.

My original interest in King Michael stemmed from my fascination with all of the overthrown monarchies of the 20th century. But, whereas King Peter of Yugoslavia sort of faded into the background, King Michael took an active role in the fate of his country. I was intrigued by the fact that he was so young (early 20’s) when he staged the coup, and that he is the last surviving sovereign leader from World War II—he’s still alive! Once I found FRUS, my thesis took on a more political tone. I loved analyzing the motives of the various leaders and the strategic importance of Romania to both sides during WWII. It is a country often forgotten in the history of the war, and I hope I was able to provide some new document analysis that fits into bigger historical patterns of the war. I presented my thesis at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference last month at SUNY Plattsburgh, and it will be published on their Digital Commons for future research purposes.

Q: Given all those projects, it is hard to believe you had a lot of time for life beyond history! But we hear you were part of a music ensemble, and were also active in other offices on campus. Could you tell us more about these?

A: I was president of the Saint Anselm College Chamber Music Ensemble for my junior and senior years. We consisted of several flutes, cellos, and violins and held about 5-10 performances a year. I loved being able to play in the ensemble with other talented and passionate student musicians to create a truly unique product. We played a variety of classical and baroque music along with some traditional Celtic and some contemporary pieces. My favorite piece of ours is Balthasar Vilicus’s Concerto in G Major because as far as I know, no one else has played it in years—the only Vilicus sheet music readily available on the internet is a scan of one of his original compositions from the 17th century!
I was also an Admission Ambassador, a Peer Tutor, and member of the History Society.

Q: So what are your plans for post-graduation?

A: I am currently working at the Moffatt-Ladd House, the Portsmouth home of William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Prince Whipple and Winsor Moffatt, signers of the Petition of Freedom. I’ve learned a lot already, and it’s great to be able to incorporate local history into the national narratives that we all know. I have a few other applications out, and I am going to continue to work on my oral history project. The long-term goal is probably to go to grad school—I want to spend time further researching topics related to my thesis and oral history project—they are under-researched fields that I hope I can somehow contribute to.

Q: You seem to have really gotten a lot from your history major and your time on the Hilltop. Do you have any advice for current and future history majors?

A: Don’t be afraid to be curious and ask questions—that’s why I was a history major, because I wanted to know and understand as much as possible. Asking questions allows you to make deeper connections, and that’s what history is all about. Don’t put each class in a vacuum—make sure you connect the events and ideas you are studying to those of other classes. Not only will this help you take comps, but, with any luck and a lot of hard work, the world will make more sense than it did before.

Senior History Majors Give Thanks to Fr. William J. Sullivan

william picture 2

The Class of 2016 Senior Brunch and Baccalaureate Mass took place on May 20 as our seniors spent their last full day as graduands.

As part of the ceremonies, Abbot Mark Cooper read an email directed at seven graduating history majors. These seven students took time from their busy senior week to write fond remembrances to Fr. William Sullivan, O.S.B. Before his stroke in 2014, Fr. William had taught these seniors in history courses and served as their academic advisor. The students wanted to let him know that he was in their thoughts as they began their move from the Hilltop and into the broader world.

One Thing After Another thought many of you who knew Fr. William and who might be thinking about your own graduation this past weekend, would appreciate these thoughts:

Dear Maria, Mike, Brendan, Jenny, Katie, Kristen and Jim,

This is Fr. William’s sister-in-law Anne-Marie writing to thank you all for your incredible thoughtfulness to your former professor, advisor and friend. There are no words to adequately articulate the joy you brought to Fr. William and to his brother Mike and me as well.

Mike and I visited Fr. William on Wednesday and he was very pleased…actually quite animated…to show us a THANK YOU card that was in a place of honor on his table. Mike read it first and then handed it to me…WOW! …

Your kindness meant the world to Fr. William and the smile on his face and the gleam in his eyes said it all, so THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!

I’m sure you’re wondering where your past four years have gone. You have learned so much, grown up so much, forged friendships that will remain rock solid for the rest of your lives. Your foundation as you move forward is the best and I can only imagine the pride your families are feeling as you all prepare for your Baccalaureate Mass this evening and Commencement tomorrow. Mike and I have never met you and we’re very proud of you all!

Please keep this close to your heart when I tell you that one of the very best things you did while a student at Saint Anselm was “save the best for last”! I cannot imagine anything better than taking the time from your end of the year busy schedules to thank Fr. William in such a beautiful manner. Your gesture exemplifies the Benedictine values you have witnessed and espoused at the College. You absolutely give new meaning to SPECIAL DELIVERY!

Please know that we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for reminding us that, although he’s no longer in the class room, Fr. William continues to teach us all.

Wishing you all the very best life has to offer, Anne-Marie Sullivan

If you would like to share your good wishes or fond memories with Fr. William (or if you would like him to know how you turned out these couple – or many – years after you graduated), you can write to him at:

Rev. William, J. Sullivan, O.S.B.
Mount Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
235 Myrtle Street – Room 403
Manchester, NH 03104

All of us in the History Department appreciate hearing back from Alumni at any time, and particularly at this reflective closing of the academic year. You can always reach any of us by following the email links at

Eric Soucy Selected for 2016 Gordon Fellowship


Eric Soucy, a junior history major from Lewiston, Maine has been chosen as the 2016 Albert H. Gordon Summer Research Fellow.

Soucy will spend his summer conducting research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library on the topic of immigration from Quebec to cities such as Manchester and Lewiston. Soucy explained in his proposal: “My research intends to identify what brought these Canadian immigrants to these New England mill towns, what their view of the ‘American Dream’ was, and their role in the electoral process in Maine and New Hampshire.”

A personal connection led him to choose this subject, as his grandmother emigrated from Canada to the United States and worked in the mills.

Soucy was nominated for the fellowship by Professor Matthew Masur of the History Department and selected by the members of New Hampshire Institute of Politics Academic Advisory Committee (AAC).

“I nominated Eric because he is an inquisitive student who asks incisive questions about the past,” said Professor Masur. “He plans to study the lives of French-Canadian mill workers in Manchester in the early twentieth century, a topic that is relevant to the local history of the region and to the larger field of immigration history.”

The Albert H. Gordon Summer Research Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for one Saint Anselm College student of any major to gain experience that will assist him or her in career pursuits related to public policy and public affairs, including gaining admission to graduate and professional schools.

The fellowship program is made possible through a generous gift by Mr. Albert H. Gordon of New York City, a former principal in the investment-banking firm of Kidder Peabody (now UBS Financial).

For the original article which appears on the Saint Anselm College NHIOP site, go here