A NEWSLETTER ABOUT SPRINGFIELD COLLEGE’S HISTORY PROGRAM
I: Gratitude, and a Request
Greetings again after an unforgettable year! Gratitude comes to mind after having lived through the global pandemic. We all worked harder and faced unexpected challenges. I appreciate the alumni who shared stories with us (see Section II). I am grateful for the efforts of our students and my colleagues who have helped our history program grow in the past few years (Section III). You can learn more about our Pre-law program here and our Public History program here.
And thank you Paul Pickowicz ’67, who continues a career of teaching and producing books (about 20 at last count) as one of the foremost scholars of China in the United States. This month, I reconnected (via Zoom) with Paul, who has some fascinating insights about the world, US-China relations, Springfield College, and the value of history programs. You can read more about our conversation in Section IV.
I wish you many blessings this 2021, and I have two requests:
- REQUEST FOR ALUMNI: Please take a minute or two to write me. I would very much like to hear from alums who graduated prior to 2007!
- REQUEST FOR EVERYONE: What most impressed you in this newsletter and what do you think the history program at SC could do better?
Please email me your responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.
II: Alumni Achievements
Kathleen Morris ’19. After representing her SC class as graduation speaker, Kathleen returned to her high school (Central) in Springfield, Mass. to work with 9th and 10th graders teaching US History and World History. During the pandemic, Kathleen developed some creative approaches to teaching, such as holding debates on Zoom.
Samantha Pindara ’14. Samantha earned a master's degree in School Counseling in 2017 and currently works as a school counselor at Lynnfield High School in Lynnfield, MA. She also coaches the varsity field hockey team at LHS and the lacrosse team at Reading Memorial High School. She poses here with a student from the class of 2019 at LHS.
Amanda DiPaolo Wright ’09. Since July 2020, Amanda has served as the Director of Student Affairs/Title IX Coordinator at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. She also started study toward an LLM in Higher Education Law and Compliance at Stamford University. For a brief period during the pandemic, Amanda served as the Interim Dean of Students at CUNY. Amanda will relocate back to New England this year as the Director or Community Standards at Northern Essex Community College. Amanda continues to run competitively, and in May 2021, she participated in the Connecticut Masters Track Championships.
Michael Kilmartin ’08. Congratulations to Mickey, his wife Shannon and daughter Hadley who welcomed Paisley into the family in June 2020!!! Mickey has taught history for the last 13 years, and currently teaches 8th grade history at Carlisle Middle School (Massachusetts). The four members of the Kilmartin family live in New Hampshire with their dog Leo. Mickey writes, “I am always thankful for the years I spent at SC as an undergrad. The knowledge, lessons, and tools I took away from Alden Street have served me well long after I have left.”
Kristin Vaccaro ’08. After graduation, Kristen worked for a few study abroad organizations across the US in admissions and marketing. She now holds a position as Senior Manager of Program Advising for Harvard Business School Executive Education, which offers professional development courses for senior executives. Kristen writes, “I oversee a team of program advisors, and essentially we help executives navigate our programs to find one that fits their learning objectives and role."
Rosaleen Lewis '07. During the pandemic, Rosaleen spent a lot of time helping faculty and students with technology at Lubatvitcher Yeshiva Academy in Longmeadow, where she teaches Social Studies and English/Language/Arts in middle school. She also serves as the school library teacher part time. In 2019, she won a Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award as an Outstanding Educator in Jewish Schools. Congratulations, Rosaleen!!!
Craig Shirley ‘78. After graduating with a B.S. in Political Science and History, Craig Shirley has become a renowned presidential historian, and New York Times bestselling author, having written several best-selling books on President Reagan. Mr. Shirley is a frequent on-air commentator on various news shows, and his opinion pieces are consistently featured in major media outlets. Craig has been professionally involved in American politics and government for over four decades. He worked in government and on campaigns at the congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential levels but now, in addition to helping manage the affairs of the public relations firm Shirley & McVicker, he spends his time writing and lecturing about presidential politics and American history. Craig’s work and contribution has earned him a place as Trustee of Eureka College, Ronald Reagan's alma mater, where he has been named the Visiting Reagan Scholar. In 2012, Craig taught a week-long class, "Reagan 101." He is also a member of the school’s Reagan Forward Advisory Council.
Paul Pickowicz ’67. During the last three autumns, Paul has taught at the new Schwarzman College/Tsinghua University in Beijing. Dr. Pickowicz recently authored
"A Sensational Encounter With High Socialist China" (Hong Kong: City University Press, 2020), in which he uses the 5 senses to depict his experiences in 1971 as a member of the first group of university-based American China scholars to enter China after the Communist Party assumed power in 1949. Paul also coedited "China Tripping: Encountering the Everyday in the People's Republic of China" (New York: Roman and Littlefield, 2019), which contains the private recollections of Dr. Pickowicz and other U.S. scholars who have visited and studied China for multiple decades.
III: Student Successes
The number of History majors has grown 300% since 2014! Our graduates continue to find work in teaching, and increasingly have prepared for careers in Law, Museum Studies, and Public History. You can learn more about our 3+3 program, which allows students to graduate in 6 years with both a B.S. and a J.D. degree, here. As you can see below, students in our program have made an impact on campus. We graduated 7 history majors this May, including Nicholas Fazio, Emily Conroy, Quinn Kenneally, Jennifer Robinson, and Eric Palchanis (who are both shown below). I look forward to sharing news of their accomplishments in future newsletters!!!
The Humanities and Social Sciences department recognized Quinn Kenneally ’21 with the Outstanding Student Award in a May ceremony. Quinn’s 3.92 GPA speaks to her dedication as a student, and she also studied in Ireland during her junior year.
Aniley Morales ’21 and Quinn Kenneally ’21 joined Dr. Delahanty to present their research on the Black students protests at Springfield College in 1969-70 at the SEAT at the Table event in the fall.
--Aniley Morales ’21 won First Place in the Oral Presentations category for Scholars in Action Day. Aniley's presentation was titled: Deliverance Ministries: and its Role in 21st Century Christian Life, and her faculty sponsor was Dr. Kate Dugan.
Molly Coates ’22 spent the spring semester of her junior year in New Zealand (until returning early due to COVID-19). Prior to leaving, she went bungee jumping off Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. In May, Molly received the prestigious Britton C. McCabe Scholarship, which the college awards each year to four juniors based on their academic performance. This summer, Molly is currently a student leader in the student-led Springfield College Online Orientation Program (SCOOP).
Emily Conroy ’21 won a scholarship in honor of Richard P. Dauer. This award was established by Dr. Dauer’s family and Professor Carty after he passed away due to a heart condition. Dr. Dauer served as an adjunct history faculty member at Springfield after having taught and served as Assistant Headmaster for several decades at the Williams School in New London, Connecticut (where he taught the future Professor Carty). The scholarship seeks to support students who prepare for careers as history teachers. Beginning in the Fall 2021, Emily will teach 7th grade (World Geography and Ancient Civilizations II) and AP US Government at Hamden Charter School of Science West.
Sabrina Moore ’23 served as Vice President of the History Club and she joined the Honors Program this year. “Reflecting on my sophomore year, I feel that many of the experiences I have had in my first year of the Honors Program and as the Vice President of the History Club have allowed me to grow academically and as an individual,” Sabrina says. “With the former, I have been able to do an array of exciting courses that have expanded the way I think about the world. As VP, I have strengthened my leadership skills, and being such an active member of the club has given me the fortunate opportunity to meet and connect with the many great faces within the History program.”
Assistant Professor of History Ian Delahanty, PhD, (above) earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor beginning next academic year. Dr. Delahanty will collaborate with College Archivist Jeffrey Monseau and Vice President for Communications and External Affairs Steve Roulier during the 2021-2022 academic year to guide students in research about activism and protest during the late-1960s at Springfield College and within the city of Springfield.
You can read more here.
Professor of History Thomas Carty, PhD, published two entries in the three volume encyclopedia titled American Religious History: Belief and Society through Time edited by Gary Scott Smith. “Catholicism from Reconstruction to World War II” provides a history of Catholics and the Catholic Church in the United States from the end of the Civil War through 1941 for volume 2. Carty also wrote a thematic essay titled “Catholicism from World War II to the Present” for the same publication.
IV: FEATURED ALUMNUS, PAUL PICKOWICZ ‘67
In 2016, I discovered Paul’s name in a box Emeritus Professor of History/Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics Herb Zettl left after retirement. I searched online, and discovered that Paul was one of the country’s foremost scholars of China working in the United States! I wrote to him and invited him back to campus, and Paul graciously replied, “I'd love to visit the college. It's been a long time! ... It was at SC that I discovered China! My life was changed in various major ways by my experiences at SC.” That November, Paul spoke to my classes and the wider college community in some fascinating conversations about the college’s impact on his life, on China and on the world in general. The photo below shows me with Paul on my right, and Herb on my left at Max’s Tavern in Springfield during Paul’s 2016 visit.
The essay below encapsulates the conversation Paul and I had via Zoom in June 2021.
Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon announced the intention to visit the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1972. Not only had no U.S. president ever visited China since the Communist Party took over in 1949, but the United States had no official diplomatic relations with the PRC. Bitter Cold War rivalries contributed to China’s decades-long isolation and the country became a mystery to Americans.
During that same year of 1971, however, Paul Pickowicz ’67 traveled behind the “Bamboo Curtain” to China. As a PhD candidate working on a dissertation on Chinese history, Paul teamed up with a small group of U.S. scholars who were able to enter the PRC. This “thawing” of Cold War tensions left Americans buzzing with curiosity about Pickowicz’s visit: “So here I am the budding historian working on a PhD dissertation on China in the 1920s, and people want to know, ‘That’s fine, but tell me what happened on your trip. What did you see? What’s China really like today?’” Pickowicz found himself becoming an interpreter for US citizens about the lives of the Chinese people.
Pickowicz’s personal fascination with the wider world began at Springfield College. As the first member of his family to attend college, Pickowicz did not know what to expect during his senior year of high school. “My guidance counselor thought Springfield was the place for me, and as a first-generation college student, my parents and I accepted his opinion.” John Kennedy’s assassination in the Fall of 1963, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War had piqued Pickowicz’s imagination. “I had a lots of questions that I wanted answered.” In a sophomore year history class, Professor Gene Rich “mesmerized” Pickowicz with some answers, which prompted more questions. When Rich created a program to bring 20 students to Scotland for a year abroad, Paul signed up. (In the photo below, Professor Rich stands on the far right with his wife and the Springfield College students he brought to Scotland. Fifth from the right is Paul, who recalled “a couple of us tried to copy Gene's cool beard!”)
During this unique experience, Pickowicz “discovered” China, which continued to fascinate him on his return to Springfield. European news outlets reported about PRC leader Mao Zedong’s manipulation of China’s youth in an effort to assert power over cultural elites. “The Cultural Revolution started in the spring of 1966. Even though Rich was a U.S. historian, he was happy to support my interests whatever they were.” Pickowicz began buying books on China as he traveled through Europe and even into the Soviet Union with Professor Rich. Serendipitously, Springfield College hired Professor Frank Carpenter, a specialist on China. After taking Carpenter’s class, Pickowicz communicated an interest in pursuing a PhD and a career as a history professor. Carpenter counseled him to study for a MA and to learn the Chinese language prior to applying for doctoral programs.
Thus began Pickowicz’s long and distinguished career as a scholar and interpreter of China. After earning a MA at Tufts University, he went to University of Wisconsin, Madison which awarded him the PhD in the early 1970s. Soon after graduation, he joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego. Over the next five decades, Pickowicz authored, coauthored, and coedited 20 books on China’s politics, literature, society, and film, won three distinguished teaching awards, and produced a documentary film The Mao Years, 1949-1976. One of Pickowicz’s most recent books contains many reflections on the visits and life inside China through the memories of the most important US scholars (including Pickowicz) who describe some of surprises of cross-cultural misunderstandings during the 1970s.
Today, Pickowicz characterizes state-to-state relations between the United States and China as the worst in three decades, but he remains optimistic. In his experience, person-to-person ties between Americans and Chinese citizens remain strong and positive. Over the past half-century, Paul has developed relationships with a vast number of Chinese citizens. “My relationships with my contacts--professional and personal--remain excellent. I can disagree with my friends, and they can disagree with me.” These frank and open conversations give Pickowicz hope about the future.
Such discussions hold importance for the fate of the world, Pickowicz believes. “Each side needs each other badly, in terms of economy, environmental and all sorts of international issues. We’re interlocked in many ways.” Leaders of both nations recognize this interdependence, although they sometimes criticize the other side as a method of gaining support in their home countries.
When such political disputes flare up, like today, Pickowicz hopes to contribute to helping improve dialog across this divide. For example, Pickowicz has taught a course in Beijing for the past three years. “I feel like one of the things I’m doing by teaching in China every Fall is to humanize the United States for the Chinese. Because I speak Chinese, I can give a lecture in the Chinese language, and afterwards, students want to chat.” Having interpreted China for Americans for decades, Paul now serves the same role in the opposite direction. (In the photo below, Paul poses in Shanghai in 2017 at East China Normal University while running a seminar that brought together Chinese PhD students and my own PhD students from the University of California, San Diego.)
Pickowicz’s career certainly embodies Springfield College’s mission of creating leaders in service to humanity, and he credits the College's faculty for setting him on this path. As he developed an intense engagement with Chinese culture, Pickowicz found mentors to guide this passion. “The context of support was there. Sane, sober, steady support from faculty members who were able to read my situation pretty well and gave me great advice.”