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Alumni Update

Undergraduate history major Chiara Kalogjera-Sackellares (left) and William Cowell (BA 2015) examine archival documents from World War I at the Bentley Historical Library for the spring 2015 Michigan in the World public history project.


U-M History graduate and undergraduate alumni are encouraged to share news about their careers and life changes with the U-M History community. Below are the latest updates from a selection of more than 11,000 U-History alumni around the world. To share your story and update your contact information, please link to our Alumni Update form.

Fall 2015 Updates


Graduate Student Alumni

James Davis (PhD 1971) is happily retired from Illinois College and living in Dexter, Micihgan, which gives him and his wife Joanna ample opportunity to visit their daughters and their families. He was the first faculty member at Illinois College to twice (in 1981 and 1993) earn the college’s top teaching award. He continues to research, reflect, publish, and give talks, and he promotes local history. His Frontier Illinois (Indiana University Press, 1998) is still in paperback.

Joanne Goodwin (PhD 1991) recently published Changing the Game: Women at Work in Las Vegas, 1940-1990, based on a major oral history project that she directed. Joanne also collaborated with VegasPBS on a three-part series titled, ”MAKERS: Women in Nevada History.”

John Hardin (PhD 1989) served as general co-editor of The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia (August 2015) for the University Press of Kentucky.

Danke Li (PhD 1999) writes that her second book, Women, War, and Memory (Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2010) won the 2014 Hong Kong Book Prize.

John Merriman (PhD 1972, MA 1969, BA 1968) is Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. Basic Books in New York published his latest book in 2014: Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune. Translations are forthcoming in Dutch and in Portuguese in Brazil. The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time (English in 2002, French in 2004), recently appeared in Chinese, with two other books forthcoming in that language.

Stefan Stantchev (PhD 2009) published his first book, Spiritual Rationality: Papal Embargo as Cultural Practice, with Oxford University Press (2014).


Undergraduate Student Alumni

Adam Lax (BA 2008) spent three years (2010-2013) teaching English at a university in China. He graduated with an MA in International Education Policy in May 2015 from the University of Maryland. He also received a Fulbright Research Scholarship and a Critical Language Enhancement Award that will take him to China for the upcoming academic year. There he will engage in intensive language study in Harbin (Heilongjiang) for three months and then conduct research on English Language Teaching policy in Kunming (Yunnan) for ten months.

Kathy Marquis (BA 1977) has been inducted as one of three 2015 fellows at the Society of American Archivists. Kathy served as head of the Reference and Access Division at the Bentley Historical Library before moving to her current post in Laramie, Wyoming. 

A. Brad Schwartz (BA 2012) writes: In May 2015, I published my first book, Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book is based on research I conducted at U-M for my senior honors thesis in history. 

Michael Thompson (BA 2002) writes that he recently was tenured and promoted to UC Foundation Associate Professor of History at UT-Chattanooga. He is author of Working on the Dock of the Bay: Labor and Enterprise in an Antebellum Southern Port (2015), a study of waterfront work and workers in Charleston, South Carolina, between 1783 and 1861. 

Thomas Ward (BA 2003, JD 2006) recently moved to Oak Park, Illinois, a town filled with the history of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway. He works as an enforcement attorney for a federal consumer protection agency.

Christopher Wilson (BA 1989) continues to work at the Smithsonian Institution where he directs the Program in African American History and Culture for the National Museum of American History. He also leads experience and program design for the museum. In 2014 his article on New Year’s celebrations during the Civil War was published at Zocalo Public Square and syndicated to the Washington Post, Time, Baltimore Sun, and LA Newspaper Group papers.



In Memorium

Mary Beechy Pfeiffer (MA 1980) passed away in Medina, Ohio, on September 12, 2014. She studied at the University of Tübingen as part of her graduate program and went on to teach German and foster student exchanges at the College of Wooster (Ohio) and area high schools. Her husband Charles wrote to tell us how much she loved her years at Michigan.

Christopher Schmidt-Nowara (PhD 1995) passed away suddenly in his sleep this June in Paris, where he was visiting his daughter Althea. Chris held a named chair at Tufts University, where he was a distinguished historian of slavery and emancipation in the Hispanic world and of politics and ideas in the Spanish empire. Many here at Michigan benefitted from Chris’s generous intellectual spirit and he will be much missed.