Monday, April 30, 2012


YEAR 17, NO. 10   30 APRIL 2012


Pictured above are two things that graduating seniors will be seeing in less than two weeks. One is the university mace. Since the Middle Ages every university has had its own distinctive mace, a symbol of dignity and scholarship. It is carried in the procession at commencement. The other item is a copy of St. Bonaventure’s commencement program from 1869. If you enlarge it you will be able to make out the writing.

This leads me, on behalf of all my colleagues, to wish graduating seniors success and happiness in their future lives.

Congratulations are in order for senior Amber Cheladyn. At the upcoming commencement she will be presented the Fr. Roderick Wheeler Award for having the highest GPA among graduating History majors. Fr. Roderick was a longtime member of our department and a noted expert in Latin American history.

Recognition is also due for several other History majors. In a ceremony to be held later this week they will be inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society in history. These students include Colin Bearer, Emily Becker, Anthony Burke, Paul Bremmer, Gregory Carney, Amber Cheladyn, John Gattuso, and Bella Quijano.

When you need a moment’s amusement or perhaps a little refresher in history, check out this site: . You can click on any day of the year and find out what big and little things happened on that date throughout the centuries. Perhaps, like me, you will click on your birthday to see if you are important enough to be included in the list.

I wish to thank St. Bonaventure University and Dean Wolfgang Natter for awarding the Department of History a Good Ideas Grant this past semester. Funds from this grant have been used in a variety of ways: purchasing a high-quality camera that interns in the university archives will employ for web digitization; outfitting a seminar room in the library that will be used often by the department; attending seminars led by national experts on the use of digital media in the classroom; hiring several students who have worked as research assistants for professors. Finally, this grant will enable three students to have off-campus internships this coming summer. They will be working at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo, at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, and at the World War II Museum in Eldred, Pennsylvania.

Coca Cola originally was green.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska.
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%.
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%.
The average number of people airborne over America in any given hour: 61,000.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
If the statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.
If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died of wounds received in battle.
If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Honey is the only food that never spoils.
Best wishes for a fun and safe summer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Phi Alpha Theta Ceremony on May 2, 2012

We will have eight new inductees for Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society: Colin P. Bearer, Emily A. Becker, Anthony J. Burke, Paul R. Bremmer, Gregory T. Carney, Amber Lynne Cheladyn, John J. Gattuso, and Bella A. Quijano. The induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7 PM, in the Honors Seminar Room in Plassmann. Please join us at the ceremony to support our new inductees!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Summer Job Opportunity for SUSI Institute

St. Bonaventure University, through a grant from the U.S. Department of State, will again host a five-week summer program for 20 students from Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. The program will introduce participants to American history, government, politics, and culture, providing them with the skills and experiences necessary to understand American society. The program runs from July 7 to August 11. Mentor training will take place several days prior to the start of the program.

The mentors serve as role models and educators. It is crucial for the staff to function effectively as a team to facilitate educational, cultural, personal development, and social activities for participants.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: participate fully in academic, leadership, and social activities; facilitate the participants’ transition into the program; display a high level of motivation; maintain a positive and mature attitude; function well in a structured, fast-paced environment; assist in planning social activities; respond to the needs of the participants. Some travel is required.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SBU History Newsletter no. 9 (Year 17)


YEAR17, NO. 9 15 APRIL 2012

"Griff" –Another Bona Legend

Every day throughout the school year most Bona students pass by a portrait of Griff. But how many of today’s students have any idea who he was? His name was Francis Griffin, but everyone called him "Griff." He is perhaps the only person ever associated with our campus whose portrait is hanging on public display in not just one, but two, locations. The portrait that most people see hangs on a wall in the RC Café. The other one is near the steps leading to the lower level of the library. St. Francis would probably be pleased to know that Griff is honored in two places, for Griff was one of the "little people." He was born in Allegany in 1900 and died in the friary’s infirmary in 1978. From the 1930s to the 1970s he was a member of the campus maintenance staff. He worked on the campus farm, which was located where the McGraw-Jennings field is today. After the farm closed he used a team of horses to pick up trash around campus. He became a beloved fixture. Every spring he said he was preparing the horses for the Kentucky Derby. In his retirement years he continued to come to campus each day. At lunchtime he would sit in the RC Café, and students would compete to get a chair near him. He lived in an old farmhouse across from campus–where the Uni-Mart sits today.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ellis Island Virtual Field Trip

Peter Wong, SBU alumnus and history major, appeared in a Virtual Field Trip of Ellis Island. Peter now works for the National Park Service at Ellis Island and has been a guest speaker in History 206: Introduction to Public History. Go here to see the webcast.