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Congratulations to Steven and Janice Brose who received the Chaiken Leadership Award from the College of the Liberal Arts!

(announcement from the College of the Liberal Arts)

Steven, ’69 Political Science, and Janice Brose met when both were students at Penn State. Janice left the University to accompany Steve to New York and Columbia, where he earned his juris doctorate in 1972. Years later, Steve earned a master’s degree in history from George Washington University. He is currently an attorney specializing in regulatory and legal issues regarding the oil and gas pipeline industry for Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C. Janice earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1973 from the City College of New York and an associate degree in nursing with certifications in Rehabilitation Nursing and Case Management from Montgomery College in 1982. She is enjoying retirement following a long and successful nursing career.

Steve’s service to his alma mater is extensive. He is currently a liberal arts mentor, a member and past chair of the Liberal Arts Development Council, and a member of the Richards Civil War Era Center Board of Visitors. He has received the Centennial Fellow Award from the College of the Liberal Arts and the Service to Penn State Award from the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board. In 2014, he received Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed by Penn State upon an outstanding alumna or alumnus.

Steve and Janice’s philanthropic commitments have had a tremendous impact in the college. They established a signature lecture and book series in the Richards Civil War Era Center and a graduate scholarship in the center (the Lindstrom Fellowship) in memory of Janice’s father, and they endowed a history professorship in honor of Steve’s parents (Jack and Mary Brose Professorship in History). They also gave generously to the Susan Welch Centennial Grad Endowment.

Steve and Janice reside in Rockville, Maryland, and keep a townhouse in State College. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Congratulations to Richards Center board member Gretchen A. McCabe who recently received the Liberal Arts Honorary Alumna Award!!

(annoucement from the College of the Liberal Arts)

Gretchen A. McCabe, wife of the late Lawrence McCabe (’57, History and Political Science), has long dedicated her time, talent, and resources to the College of the Liberal Arts. A graduate of Chatham University, Gretchen is an extremely generous benefactor; along with her husband or through his estate, they have created the McCabe-Greer Professorship in the American Civil War Era (currently held by Dr. Christina Snyder, professor of history); the Gretchen McCabe Family Director’s Fund in the Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program; the Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Scholarship in the Richards Civil War Era Center; the Susan Welch Scholarship Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts; and the Lawrence J. McCabe Scholarship in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Gretchen has served on the Board of Visitors of the Richards Civil War Era Center since its inception. She is the mother of five, grandmother of 18, and great-grandmother of one, and has sung in her church choir for 38 years. Gretchen resides in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to Bill Blair and Cecily Zander!

Congratulations to William Blair and Cecily Zander who were recently honored at the College of the Liberal Arts New Emeritus Faculty and Graduate Student Awards Luncheon.

Susan Welch, Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, recognized Bill Blair as the Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor Emeritus of Middle American History.

D. Scott Bennett, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, presented Cecily Zander with the Raymond E. Lombra and Roberta Lombra Outstanding Graduate Research Award.

William Blair Announces Retirement

Richards Center executive director and Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor of Middle American History William Blair will retire in June after twenty-one years at Penn State. Blair, a Penn State graduate, joined the Department of History faculty in 1998. As the director of the Richards Center, he oversaw its growth into one of the leading sites for the study of the Civil War era in the country. In 2003, George and Ann Richards endowed the center with a naming gift. Two years later, Blair spearheaded the center’s successful application for a We the People challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that contributed $4,000,000 to the center’s endowment. During his tenure, the center has received more than $9,000,000 in pledges, providing
critical support for the Center’s mission to promote the advancement of Civil War era studies, enhance graduate education at Penn State, and provide internship opportunities for undergraduates. The Center also has served as a pipeline for establishing four
endowed professorships in the Department of History. 

Under Blair’s leadership, the Richards Center has spurred Civil War era scholarship through its signature lecture/book series and peer-reviewed journal. The Steven (’69) and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture and Book series have produced more than 50 lectures and 10 books on Civil War era topics since 1998. Blair also published over 200 authors during his editorship of Civil War History from 2000 to 2010 and the Journal of the Civil War Era from 2011 through 2015. He was the founding editor of the JCWE, which was recognized by the Library Journal as one of the top ten new periodicals in the nation during 2011. In addition to promoting scholarship in the history of the Civil War era, Blair and the Richards Center also assisted teacher education on the history of race, slavery, and the slave trade through the UNESCO Breaking the Silence program. For undergraduates, the Center during his tenure has placed roughly fifty interns at historic sites throughout the country, with about a third of those individuals finding careers in the academy or in public history.

Blair earned his PhD at Penn State in 1995. He is the author or editor of half a dozen books, including, most recently, With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era (UNC Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize in 2015. Blair earned numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching at Penn State, including the Welch Alumni Award and the Class of 1993 Distinction in the Humanities Award, both received from the College of the Liberal Arts in 2003 and 2009, and The President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration in 2011. In addition, the Society of Civil War Historians presented him with its lifetime achievement award during the Southern Historical Association annual meeting in November. In recognition of his scholarship and service to the university and the history profession, he was appointed the Walter L. and Helen P. Feree Professor of Middle American History in 2015. History Department Head Michael Kulikowski reflected, “Under Bill’s leadership, the Richards Center became one of the main sites for innovative, groundbreaking research on the Civil War era, meaningfully expanding the boundaries of what studying the Civil War can mean.” In retirement, Blair will complete his latest book manuscript, Murders and Outrages, which chronicles the vast extent of violence committed against freedpeople in the South, as recorded by the Freedmen’s Bureau during Reconstruction, and wrap up a second book on one hundred years of black history at what is now Arlington National Cemetery.

Kanady Earns Seasonal Ranger Position

Kanady Earns Seasonal Ranger Position

Nichole Kanady '20

Former Richards Center intern Nichole Kanady, '20, has earned a coveted seasonal ranger position with the National Park Service (NPS) for the summer of 2019. She will spend this summer working in interpretive operations at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, Virginia. The park preserves the site of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run, which occurred in July 1861 and August 1862, respectively. As a ranger, Nichole will lead tours of the battlefield, educating the public about the battles themselves and their military, political, and social ramifications during the Civil War. Nichole, who is pursuing a double major in History and Political Science, previously completed two internships with the NPS through the Richards Center. In the summer of 2017 she earned a Richards Center internship in interpretive operations at Gettysburg National Military Park and followed it up this past summer with another interpretive operations internship at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Earning a competitive seasonal ranger position with the NPS has been a dream come true for Nichole. She becomes the ninth Richards Center intern to earn a seasonal or permanent ranger position with the NPS, since the founding of our internship program in 2003. She reported, "I am very excited to continue down the road of public history! I cannot thank Dr. Blair and the Richards Center enough for all the help you have given me in the last three years as I worked toward this goal!"

Congratulations to Cecily Zander!

Congratulations to Cecily Zander, Ph.D. candidate, who recently won two fellowships to work on her project, “Agents of Empire: The U.S. Army, Native Americans, and the Civil War in the Making of the American West.”

Cecily was awarded a grant to conduct research at The Huntington Library during the academic year 2019-2020 and awarded a one-month Masterson Fellowship at the Western History Collections (WHC) of the University of Oklahoma Libraries.