April 22, 2020
2020 Zeender and Farrell Prize winners

First-Ever Virtual Gathering Honors All History Students

The Zeender Prize for the best senior thesis by a graduating History major is the Department of History’s highest award for the research of its undergraduate students.  The prize honors John K. Zeender (1917-2002), a long-serving professor in the Department, and his devotion to undergraduate teaching.  This year the department has awarded the prize to two students: Elizabeth Erickson (pictured, left), for her thesis “The Honorable Ronald N. Davies and the Fight for Racial Justice”, and Joslyn Felicijan (pictured, center), for her thesis “‘Back then we were heroes, today we’re murderers’: Anglo-Polish Historical Memory in World War II Cinema”.

The Department also presents the Farrell Prize, for the highest grade point average among graduating history majors, its award for overall academic excellence among its students.  The prize honors John T. Farrell, who taught in the Department from 1945 to1968.  This year’s Farrell Prize winner is Allison Senko (pictured, right).

The Department announced these awards on 22 April, during an online celebration of its students.  The event included induction of new members to the Catholic University chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the national honor society for history students), recognition of graduating seniors and senior-thesis projects, and appreciation for all history students. 

Inductees into Phi Alpha Theta during the online celebration were Jenna Drummond, Elizabeth Erickson, Joselyn Felicijan, Magdalene Jensen, Alexandra Patterson, Laura Roa, Allison Straub, and Cosette Vincent.

The novel format of this annual event was a consequence of the current virus pandemic.  But that did not dampen the Department’s pride in saluting its students.  Nor did it dampen the spirit of fun and celebration, ably conducted by Professor Árpád von Klimó, Director of Undergraduate Studies and the inimitable master of ceremonies for the event.  Taking the event online also allowed parents to participate in the festivities.

Professor Michael Kimmage, Chair of the Department, commented “We are very proud of all our graduating seniors this year, who have continued their excellent work under very difficult conditions, and in particular of those who are receiving prizes for academic distinction.  We may be interrupted at the moment.  But we know that our history-major graduates will be carrying on the study of history – in one way or another and with continuing distinction – for many years to come.”