Pope at CUA
As I write this first ever “Chair’s Column” for the first ever Department of History e-newsletter, Connections, the academic year is just now coming to a close. Indeed, the pomp and circumstance (to say nothing of the festivities) of commencement have now past, and students and professors alike are turning their thoughts to the work and play of the summer months.

This year has been my first as chair of the department and to characterize it as a whirlwind is quite the understatement! In September, the academic year got off to an auspicious start with a historic visit from Pope Francis, the third pope to visit campus in thirty-six years. As a medieval historian, I was delighted to note that the official duty that brought him to campus was to preside over a canonization, the official act of “making” a saint, a process that was codified in the Middle Ages, and a subject that I love to teach.Though little can compete with that, the year concluded on another high note with the first ever “Research Day,” where some of our students presented the fruits of their research in both Ted-style talks and poster formats.

Even before I took the chair, it occurred to me that our History Department alumni (graduate and undergraduate alike), along with our emeriti faculty, are not always aware of what we—current faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates—are doing. Hence I am proud to introduce this newsletter—Connections—which features some highlights of what we as a department are engaged in, alongside the accomplishments and stories of our alumni, which I hope will help us all to forge deeper connections with each other.

We are, after all, a community and this newsletter aims to help us cultivate interconnections across generations and around the globe. In addition to this, and to keep up-to-date with us in real time, I am also delighted to announce the Department of History is now on Facebook and Twitter and we invite you follow us on those platforms too. Many thanks are due to Dr. L.R. Poos, former chair and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Patricia Mars (CUA 2014) in helping to pull together all the pieces.

Finally, I’d like to mention a new initiative the department is undertaking. In an effort to support research, we are kick-starting a research and travel fund that will be open by application to undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Its success, however, will depend on your generosity. We envision that it will fund research trips for senior theses or dissertation research, or help to defray conference expenses where research results are presented. I hope that you will consider making a donation of whatever size you can manage (no donation too small!) to help get this worthy project off the ground. We’ve made it easy to donate by including this link to designate your gift to the History Department Chair's Discretionary Fund.

The department would love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to be in touch with your news. You can email us at cua-historyalumni@cua.edu. We are especially interested to hear how your history degree helped to prepare you for the career paths you have followed.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

With all best wishes,

Dr. Katherine L. Jansen
Professor and Chair
Department of History