Monday, October 31, 2011

History Newsletter No. 3

YEAR  17,  NO.  3    26  oCTOBER  2011

The Campus Floods of 1942 and 1972

          Several readers were curious about the photo of the pig rescue that appeared in the previous newsletter, and so I thought I might publish another view of that event.  Students and staff created a makeshift barge to rescue the campus pigs and take them to higher ground.  For the first two-thirds of our institution's history, much of the meat, milk, and other foods that St. Bonaventure students consumed was grown right on campus.  The old corn fields and pastures are now sports fields.  The photo on the right shows flood waters nearly reaching Hopkins Hall in 1972.  Several buildings on campus received serious damage in that flood. 

One of the most important things students can do to prepare for careers is to have internship experiences.  Serving as an intern gives one an intimate look at what life in various careers might actually be like, and it also can provide valuable networking contacts with professionals in "the real world."  Our Career and Professional Readiness Center will host an Internship Summit in the Quick Center for the Arts on Thursday, 3 November, from 4:00 to 6:30.  This event is for students in all majors.  There will be a variety of guest speakers, refreshments, and even a short fashion show on how to dress for success.  For more information, email  There will be a prize drawing for all students who pre-register by 28 October.

While on the topic of internships, let me remind students that the History Department offers internships every semester.  Contact Dr. Phillip G. Payne for details.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing about Thich Nhat Hanh (Dr. Elise DeVido)

I have been invited to write a chapter on the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh for the two-volume Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook, part of the Sage Publications Reference Series on Leadership. Thich Nhat Hanh is an internationally-known Zen monk, teacher, and author of many books on Buddhism. During the 1960s in Vietnam, he coined the term "Engaged Buddhism" which involved Buddhists in social work and war relief, and he negotiated for peace in both the U.S. and in Paris. He and Thomas Merton were close friends. Thich Nhat Hanh is now in his late 80s. I have met him twice in Vietnam and once in Hong Kong during his many lecture tours.

Special Topics

As scholars we all have areas that we bore into as we write books and articles. A lot of times this passion shows up in the classroom in ways that doesn't show up in the catalog or on mysbu. For example, you won't find a class on scandalous 1920s presidents listed under my name. However, we make room for this in various classes, including the seminars and special topics courses. History 100: First Year Seminar is a place this happens, which Dr. Robbins is currently teaching. The Advanced Reading Courses, History 491 and 492, is another place. This semester, Dr. DeVido is focusing the readings on Religion, Protest, and the Politics of Change. The newest member of the department is adding new courses. Dr. Marinari is teaching a special topics course on immigration and ethnicity. I'm teaming up with Paul Spaeth to teach a special topics course on history and science fiction. To point being, for you students, is to look beyond the catalog and course numbers to see what we're offering. You never know what we might be working on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recent Discoveries

Here are some serious and not-so-serious things that I have learned in the past few days.

First, here are some disturbing statistics about recent trends in the United States. Thirty years ago, 10 percent of California's general revenue fund went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons. Today nearly 11 percent goes to prisons and 8 percent higher education.--Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz reports that "The top 1 percent of Americans now take in roughly one-fourth of America's total income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, . . . the top 1 percent now controls 40 percent of the total. This is new. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent." In other words, the rich are getting richer. Yet some politicians and special interest groups oppose higher taxes for the wealthy--The Pentagon now reports that 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 and 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record or are physically unfit.

On a lighter note: Everyone has heard Dr. Seuss's story about green eggs and ham. I always thought that he had made up the part about green eggs. But a couple of days ago a neighbor of mine gave me some eggs from his chickens. Two of the eggs are green! It turns out that at least one breed of chickens, the Americana, actually lays them that color.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Further Musings from the Far South (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

Last Thursday, I flew from Buenos Aires to Argentina’s second city, Córdoba, to give a talk at the University of Córdoba, the country’s oldest university. The university dates from the seventeenth century, though most of the university is presently housed on a campus away from the city center. This is unlike its peer in Buenos Aires, where each of the different faculties (schools) have buildings scattered around the city and there is no direct physical contact between them. The newer university buildings in Córdoba are attractive, if somewhat Spartan. They do have a newly rebuilt library with plenty of space to study and use computers and open stacks. The talk went well.

I stayed in the home of the colleague who invited me and her husband who teaches bio-chemistry. It was extraordinarily pleasant. I stayed in a little house on the back of the property, which the husband uses for a study. One day, while I was there, my hosts put on an asado (a traditional Argentine barbeque) for me and some of their friends, and it was wonderful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

National Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Dr. Elise DeVido)

On October 1, Alva Cellini (Department of Modern Languages), Kathleen Premo (Business), and myself represented our University at the National Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Seneca Falls, New York, site of the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848. Every two years, inductees are chosen "based on their lasting contribution to society" in all fields. This year's inductees included Billie Holiday, Coretta Scott King, Lilly Ledbetter (lobbyist for equal pay), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (longest serving female Senator), and Donna E. Shalala (former Secretary of Health and Human Services). On Sunday October 2, we visited the National Women's Hall of Fame Gallery and the Women's Rights National Historical Park, including the newly-refurbished Wesleyan Chapel in which the 1848 Convention was held. The trip took us through the beautiful wine country of Seneca and Keuka Lakes, and on the way home we stopped at a produce stand to buy vegetables and delicious Concord grapes. A welcome break from our usual schedules!

News from the History Club

The History Club held its first meeting on Thursday, September 29, and elected its officers for 2011-12: Diana Phalon, President; Chaz James, VP; Max Schneller, Secretary; and Paul Bremmer, Treasurer. The Club discussed writing of the club's constitution; showing a history video series; organizing fieldtrips to historic sites; fundraising; and undertaking community service. The History Club is open to all students not only history majors. Be sure to join if you are interested!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Balancing Teaching, Research, and Writing (Dr. Karen Robbins)

Hi everyone. Professor Marinari has asked me to contribute to this blog, telling you about my recent experiences professionally. As many of you know, it is one of our goals as your professors to help our disciplines further themselves, and that is generally translated as doing publishing of articles and books in reputable presses. Our department is very active in this area, and I am currently trying to publish a book I’ve been working on for a long time, as well as start a new book length project. Unless one is an established, well-published scholar, it can take time to find a good press to accept one’s work.

Recently, my publishing life seems to be on the upswing. The University of Georgia Press is considering my book. A good press sends one’s manuscript to anonymous, scholarly readers, which they have done. One reader suggested changes, most of which I have made, and the press has now sent it back to her/him for their reaction. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I am turning blue from holding my breath. It does happen that publishers reject a book and then the author needs to try another press.

SBU History Newsletter October 2011

SBU history newsletter
year 17, no. 2 2 October 2011
by Dr. Thomas j. Schaeper


In 1942 flash floods forced St. Bonaventure students and staff to create a makeshift barge in order to rescue the 150 pigs from the barns on campus. Flooding again visited the campus and caused serious damage in 1972. This photo comes from the university's archives and is reprinted in the newly-published book The Good Journey: 150 Years of History at St. Bonaventure University.