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Deans in conversation

The Penn Stater Magazine, July/August 2018, Interview by Savita Iyer and Photograghs by Steve Tressler


Two of Penn State’s longest-standing academic leaders, Nan Crouter and Susan Welch, stepped down June 30 after a combined 38 years as deans—Crouter in Health and Human Development and Welch in Liberal Arts. We invited them to talk about their careers, the changes they’ve seen at Penn State, and what lies ahead.  (full interview)

Larry McCabe, Penn State alumnus and philanthropist, dies

McCabe returned to Pittsburgh following his tour of duty and joined Duquesne Light Co.’s legal department. He moved to the H.J. Heinz Company in 1965, where he rose through the company ranks to become senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of the board until his retirement in 2000.

While a student at Penn State, McCabe was a member of the Parmi Nous leadership society and the Penn State Thespians. He remained closely connected to his alma mater for the 60-plus years following his graduation. He and Gretchen are longtime members of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center Board of Visitors in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts and established an undergraduate fund, graduate fund, and director’s fund in the center. The couple also co-funded the college’s McCabe Greer Professorship in the American Civil War Era and have provided support for the college’s Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellowship Program. McCabe received the college’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2011.

"Larry and Gretchen have been pioneers for what became the Richards Center,” said William Blair, center director and Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor of Middle American History. “In 1998, they stepped in during a critical moment and created a professorship that became a cornerstone of the center. Their vision and support have been instrumental in helping us become a research entity with a national reputation. Larry will be very much missed.”

In addition to his wife, McCabe is survived by his five children: Susan Kinsella, of Clarendon Hills, Illinois; Megan Cantella, of Zelienople, Pennsylvania; Kevin McCabe, of Sandusky, Ohio; Heather Wurzer, of Fairport, New York; and Erin Powell of the North Hills, Pennsylvania. He also is survived by 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Congratulations to Paul Matzko!

Congratulations to Paul Matzko (Ph.D. 2016) who is the Assistant Editor for Tech and Innovation at Dr. Matzko also hosts a podcast called Building Tomorrow, on emerging tech topics.

Congrats to Sean Trainor!

Congratulations to Sean Trainor (Ph.D. 2015) who has accepted a position as a Lecturer in the Management Communication Center at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business where he will be teaching graduate courses in professional writing to UF business students.

Richards Center welcomes Dara Walker

The Richards Center would like to welcome Dara Walker to Penn State as the 2018-19 Richards Center/Africana Research Center Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Walker holds a PhD in History from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching expertise include African American history, urban history, 20th century U.S. history, public history, and the digital humanities. She received her B.S. in African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2009 as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar as well as a M.A. in Pan-African Studies from Syracuse University in 2011. Dr. Walker is currently writing her book manuscript which examines the role of the high school organizing tradition in the development of black radical politics of the Black Power era. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation’s Dissertation Fellowship, the Walter P. Reuther Library’s Albert Shanker Fellowship for Research in Education, and Rutgers University. She has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS). In addition to her research, teaching, and mentoring, Dr. Walker is a regular contributor to Black Perspectives, the blog site for the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).

A Muster Roundtable on the Fourteenth Amendment by Martha S. Jones

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[1] On July 9, 1868, one of the Reconstruction Era’s boldest innovations became law. Birthright citizenship, equal protection of the laws, and voting rights entered the constitutional pantheon, pointing the way forward for a nation that had been deeply scarred by slavery, racism, and a war that wrought nothing less than a revolution. An unparalleled experiment in interracial democracy was underway.

Here, in 2018, we have not the luxury, however, of looking back to 1868 with collective nostalgia or national self-congratulation. Today, the Fourteenth Amendment is under attack by those who see in its terms unwelcome or overtrod paths to belonging, equality, and the dignity of all persons in the United States. Calls for its repeal or to otherwise radically narrow its interpretation are coming from quarters both refined and popular: at podiums, on placards, in law reviews, via Tweets, and on the op-ed page.

Historians have a role to play, and this week Muster has assembled four scholars, all of whom take the view that to engage the present we must understand the past. Their research permits us to examine closely the Fourteenth Amendment, its purpose, and its effect in its own time. And as we appear fated to revisit the amendment in political and policy terms in the coming months and years, they propose that we enter this debate well equipped with a sense of the history out of which it emanated.

The full article can be viewed on the Journal of the Civil War Era Muster blog.