Meredyth Clark Graham '61
2 S. Bryn Mawr Place, Media Pa.(outside of Philadelphia)--30credits beyond B.A. for teaching certification -- at present time am a Professional tutor at Delaware County Community College in Media Pa.-Have worked here 15 yrs.--I tutor ESL students as well as History, Psychology, English and Sociology students. After graduating from Skidmore I taught 4th grade in Rockaway,NJ. for 3 yrs. before marrying and moving to PA. I taught history of N.J in that position. After coming to Pa I did some substitute teaching and tutoring--but I was basically a stay at home mom while my children were growing up. History has always been part of my life. Traveling has always been one of our big hobbies and we hope to continue it as long as our stamina holds out. This past spring we toured the British Isles:next spring we hope to journey to Eastern Europe.. Before each trip I do extensive research on the countries to be explored.. History is just so fascinating; it incorporates so many subjects. If I were to do it all over again I would choose the same major. History provided me with a broad education and an intellectual curiosity which has remained with me throughout my life.
Frances Malino '61
I graduated in the class of 1961, went on to get my Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic
Studies at Brandeis and have been a Professor in the history department at Wellesley
College since 1989. I also received the Periclean Alumni scholar award in 1997.
Frances Malino, Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History
Margaret Howe-Soper '61
Well, while I continued as a history major, I left Skidmore to transfer to the University of Colorado (Boulder) in 1959 and graduated in 1961. I majored in Chinese history. Later I studied Southeast Asian Development. After that, in the 60s I married, received an MLS and worked in libraries. In the 70s I moved a lot following my husband's career, had two children, served in elected office and received an MPA (public administration). My "80s" were marked by working for municipal government, landing back in New England, and getting back into libraries. The 90s were great: both children graduated from college, I loved my work, and am still in good health without a thought of retirement. How have I used my history background? My first job out of college was in the Boston Public Library's History Dept. as a reference assistant. After that, everywhere I've worked in libraries, I've use something of what I learned about nonwestern cultures and history in my day-to-day activities. Whether it was to help frame a marketing proposal (Digital Equipment Corporation) or helping business students at Boston University learn where to find trade information in Southeast Asian countries, I've used my history background. At the Harvard Business School, many of our students are from Asian countries, and having been exposed to their countries' culture/history/politics, helps me provide better customer service to our patrons because of some nonwestern based background grounded in studying history. For me history was a good major.
Class of '62
As a lifetime student of history, I am delighted to contribute to this project sponsored by the History Department at Skidmore College. I attended Skidmore from 1958-62 and spent my Junior Year at the University of Geneva. I consider myself fortunate to have been taught by such excellent professors as Alice Warren, Grace Cockcroft, and Louise Dalby. Subsequently, I did graduate work at Hunter College in New York City and received an Ed.M in the History of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In truth, I cannot imagine having lived my life without the contextual support history provides-whether it be reading the newspaper, discussing most any issue at all, or just enjoying the arts, travel, or most anything. I believe I have come to understand why history is so often referred to as practical philosophy-enabling one, as it can, to act upon what Socrates had taught: to bring philosophy down from the heavens and set her in the cities, and to ask questions about life and morality and about things good and bad. I read an obituary, I think it was last year, of Elizabeth Longford, a British biographer and activist, in which it said that Lady Longford advised her children and grandchildren to study history. For if you do not, she said, it will be like living in a house without windows. I couldn't agree more. I have to agree, also, with Confucius who reportedly said that half the learning is in the teaching. After graduation, I taught history for several years both in New York City and in Barcelona-and finally came to know my subject a bit better! Although I did not continue in teaching, I consider the experience an invaluable one. Years later, after returning to work, I again found employment in the field of education, as Director of Admissions in New York City. Now, after another long absence from the workplace, I am once again working in the field of education. This time at the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Institute exists to help journalists who write about education do a better job. Approximately six seminars are held each year around the country and at Teachers College. I have the title of Management Associate-which means I do my best to make the seminars a reality. I suppose with the myriad of fascinating majors to choose among these days, history, at first glance, might get short shrift as a turn of mind. For what it may be worth, however, I think it provides a necessary window on the word and thus a solid undergraduate major that can be useful for any number of fields besides teaching and law. It even enabled me, who had never contemplated writing anything for public consumption, when asked by the International Churchill Societies to review a book about Churchill for their publication "Finest Hour" on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, to be able to do so! I never could have written the review not having studied, taught, and learned from history.
Carol Ann Becher Shulenberg '62
For 32 years after graduation, I was a stay at home mom and did little with my degree except watch it turn yellow on a kitchen shelf. I am not a, "joiner," so I did little in the community other than school activities and political volunteer work. Then in 1993, my husband was forced to retire and I thought that the two of us living in the same space ALL of the time might not be a good thing. I had volunteered as a front desk person at our local Congressman's District Office for 8 years and when a job opening came up in the fall of 1994, I asked him if I could have the job. Without a resume or any experience, he hired me on and I have been a district congressional staffer ever since. I now work for our CongressWOMAN, Jo Ann Davis, as a staff member and I'm also her Academy Coordinator and help with congressional nominations of high school seniors to the U.S. Service Academies. (West Point Military, Annapolis-Naval, Air Force, and Merchant Marine) I really do not know if this job employs a history degree background or not, but living in this historic area of Virginia, (Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown) it has helped as I also now volunteer in a gallery in Yorktown where tourists come and ask a lot of questions about the area and its history. I believe a history degree would be useful in the political world, but now colleges offer "Political Science," as a major. I have no idea what that course entails, but history should be a big par of it. So this is what one history major did with her degree- it has been a fun ride.
Diane Macht Solomon '62
Currently residing near Tampa FL. MLS Simmons College, 1963. I have just retired after a 40 year career as a librarian. Many of those years I was in Library Administration. The last 8 were as Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. If you want to see what I accomplished there, check out the web site www.tblc.org or the prototype of a virtual library that was created through the vision and hard work that I fostered between libraries in the region. The address is www.anywhereanytimelibrary.org. It was many years before I realized that the Editors of the Skidmore News who were in the class of 1961 had seen a capability in me that I never would have recognized. They created the position of Coordinating Editor for me because they feared that the 4 who were in line for editorial positions in 61-62 would be unable to get the paper out. They recognized that I had the natural ability to enable people to work together collaboratively for a good cause. My history background enabled me to be an excellent reference librarian and the bibliographic instruction offered at Skidmore by Jane Rollins provided me with a resource background that was unsurpassed by that of any of my graduate school classmates.
Jane Denaburg Leavey '64
I live in Atlanta, GA. Following my BA in History from Skidmore, I received a journalism certificate from Radcliffe and an MSW from University of Maryland. I am the founding executive director of The Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta- a project I began in 1988. My history background-the fascination with history and insight into the lives of the people involved; the understanding that history is the story of people who happened to live in a certain place at a certain time and got caught up in the events of that time; the research techniques that taught me to 'connect the dots' and seek out the relationships among events- all these have been incredibly useful in researching and writing story lines and text for exhibitions and publications. The journalism training and social work skills have been invaluable as well! Check out our web site at www.thebreman.org <http://www.thebreman.org/>
Ginny Yans '64
My name is Ginny Yans. I graduated from Skidmore in 1964. I became a history major
because the faculty was so good. Louise Dalby, Dan Balmouth, and Alan
Kiefer (spelling?) were simply great and dedicated. In some ways I have done the conventional thing with a history degree. I got a Ph.D. and have been teaching every since. I have taught at a variety of institutions, the City University of New York, Sarah Lawrence College, Princeton University, and for the longest time, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. My specialties include immigration history, women's history, and the history of the social sciences. I headed Women's Studies programs at Rutgers and Sarah Lawrence. Today, in addition to my teaching in the History Department I am directing a research institute, the Rutgers center for Historical Analysis. This year our theme is "single women." Next year, it will be the "gendering of children." From their inception, I have been a historical consultant with the Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty Museums in New York city, where I live. I am also acting as a historical consultant to several women's museums: the Women's History and Leadership Center now planned for lower Manhattan, the Women's International Museum planned for San Francisco, and Sewell Belmont House, the home of the National Women's Party, in Washington D.C. I have written and edited several books and articles, most of them on immigration or about the anthropologist Margaret Mead. I produced and wrote a documentary film about Margaret Mead which aired as a PBS special. If any one is interested in this film, please contact me or my distributor, Filmaker's Library (212 808 4983). Working on film and museum exhibits is not the conventional career route for an academic historian, but I love both activities. My university just honored this work by making me a "chaired professor" with the formal title "Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor." There are different kinds of "chaired professorships." This one is designated for persons whose
intellectual work has had major public impact. I never thought I would reach this level of promotion and I am thrilled with it. Skidmore has done me well.
Helen Rodd Pasternack '65
My maiden name was Helen Rodd. Although I graduated with a degree in history, I went back to school and got an M.A. in art education from City College and have been teaching art since 1969. I had my first child in 1976 and took time off to raise my family but I returned to teaching in 1988 ( I did substitute and part time teaching before that). I am the art teacher at Edgewood Elementary School in Scarsdale, New York. I live in Scarsdale, as well. I am a professional artist and have had both solo and group exhibits. I have maintained my interest in history but parlayed it into art history and teach teachers how to bring art history into the classroom. I still love history. I remember my teachers Louise Dalby and Dan Balmuth vividly and wonder what became of them.
Joan Laskey Sussman '65
Charlotte, NC Masters in Elementary Education MBA. Although I don't think my history degree had anything to do with my years teaching in NYC, I know it was the attention to detail that becomes second nature in history that helped make me successful in the classroom. However, what landed me a position with the New Haven Symphony, The Phoenix Symphony and finally as Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing of the Charlotte Symphony was my ability to write. For, if nothing else, history majors can write. I wrote brochures, press releases, ads, newsletters, speeches and scripts. And it came easily and I loved doing it. I have retired from the symphony world and now teach pilates part-time and have a small cottage industry knitting business, known as Crafty Ladies.
Barbara Terry '65
Cambridge, MA resident. No further education. I have not used my history education in my marketing communications career nor in my present job in customer service at the IRS. However, as a result of my interest in Czechoslovakia, about which I wrote my senior year thesis, I worked as a marketing consultant for a Czech software company in Prague for most of 1993. Those 9 months were probably the richest experience of my life.
Flory Davidoff Cardinale '67
I enjoy history now more than ever. I liked school, but I did not excel in history. Pretty soon I was teaching it! I have an M.A.T. in Social Studies (master of arts in teaching social studies.) I was fit to teach history on the secondary level, which I did at Upper Merion Junior High School for three years around 1970. I have not been employed in recent years. It seems to me almost all theater is based on a common knowledge of the past---Candide, 1776, for examples. TV shows about Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War amaze me. I credit this interest to not only the TV production itself but to my own experience of having studied these topics. Hopefully, one builds from year to year, but lately I have been reading more book reviews than books (historical ones, anyway.) When I go to Florida in the wintertime, I attend almost every lecture on the Beaux Arts period at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. It is my idea of a good time. I still love to learn.
Louise Diracles '68
I was a stewardess for Pan American World Airways for five years and I have been a teacher for thirty years.
Florence M. Henn Mason '68
I live in Dallas, Texas with homes in Durango Colorado and Southport, North Carolina. I have a masters (MLS) in Library Science (Simmons 1971) and a PhD in Library and Information Science (University of Southern California 1984). I have my own company F. Mason and Associates (started 1990). My area of work is library management consulting, I am the Principal and Owner. I consult with municipalities and other government, non profit agencies and companies on library and information services. Much of my work involves preparing master, long range and building program planning for public, academic and special libraries. I also am an adjunct professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of North Texas Denton, TX (since 1987). I teach Economics of Information and a course on Managing Change and Emerging Technologies. My work entails a considerable of research related to developing needs assessment for libraries. I find that the extensive writing required in the history program still helps me today since I produce long technical documents on a regular basis. Coupled with my master's and PhD work, historiography is also one of the research methods I have used in my career in developing studies for my clients.
Molly Meyer '68
I've lived in New Haven, Ct since 1971 and have worked at the Yale University Health Services (the HMO for Yale U.) since 1971 first as a staff nurse and since 1973 as an adult nurse practitioner. I work with the students (primarily the varsity athletes), in internal medicine and as the coordinator and N.P. for the Medical Oncology patients/ practice. (primary care and oncology). I went to the University of Wisconsin Madison after I graduated from Skidmore. I took a grad course in English History but soon found that the nursing courses absorbed all my time. I got a BS in nursing in 1971 and a MS in Health Science in 1984 from Southern Connecticut State University. My memories of the History Department at Skidmore all very positive and strong. There is not question in my mind that my courses and the faculty especially help make me the person and N.P. I am today. Louise Dalby and Bill Bryntenson both played a very significant part in my life academically and personally. So even though I've spent my life in nursing, my history background is an important piece of my life and I've still maintained my interest in medieval history. I will ever be grateful for all the direct and indirect impact I've had from being a history major (including lasting friendships).
Niki Sabbath '68
I received your letter today, and I wanted to give you a short response. My name is
Niki Holbrook Sabbath, and I graduated from Skidmore in 1968. I
believe there were 20 history majors in my class, and I have fond memories of caviar and vodka at Dr. Balmuth's house and wine and cheese with Mr. Brynteson at his home on North Broadway! Just so you know that I did more than drink and eat while I was in Saratoga, I also remember doing research on the Boston Massacre with primary sources in the rare book room of the New York City Public library for my senior seminar with Mr. Parker. I presently live in Fairfax, Virginia, a commuting suburb of Washington, D.C. I have been in this area since 1975. One of the most troubling moments in my life was when the career counselor told me the only thing I could do with my history degree was possibly teach in a private school, as I did not have my teaching credentials. Talk about a reality check! I subsequently earned a Masters in Education degree from Boston University, and taught fifth and sixth grades for five years. I certainly relied on my background in history during my social studies classes, which included both American history and World History. After working on Capitol Hill, in a law office and in a flower shop, I am now teaching again. I am a Technology Resource Teacher at an elementary school in a public school system nearby. I am presently working on a Masters in Instructional Technology at George Mason University. My basic responsibility is to help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum. I do not use the content of my history degree in my job, but I always rely on the rigorous training I received at Skidmore in an attempt to be a creative problem solver. It's been a long journey from reading esoteric manuscripts to trying to outsmart machines, but my experiences at Skidmore have been a valuable asset along the way.
Katharine (Kathy) Drake Potter '69
I am currently officially an early retiree, but will undoubtedly get involved in projects after a welcomed hiatus from my 29 year career in journalism. I married after college, spent a year with my first husband in Germany where he was studying, and came back having no idea what I wanted to do. An employment agency got me a first job as an editorial assistant for a national magazine based in NJ (Medical Economics--personal finance for physicians). I was there as a reporter and writer for 8 years, left for some projects in New York City and wound up at Time Inc. I reported for Time magazine, moved to Money and journeyed up the ranks there, reporting, writing, managing their reporting and correspondent staffs and editing. As a manager, I hired many young people, and was often asked what I looked for in a person wanting a career as a journalist. In truth, I wasn't very eager to see a BA or BS in journalism. I preferred a liberal arts major such as English lit and history. The best journalism requires a strong curiosity about people and their foibles, an ability to digest complicated issues and make them understandable to readers, a sense of how we as Americans fit into the world and how we got to where we are now. And, of course, for political journalism, it's essential to have an interest in other cultures. A major in history gives perspective, and the sense that we can learn from the past, that human nature doesn't change dramatically, that there are obvious cyclical patterns throughout history.
Susan Wall '69
I received my degree from Skidmore in 1969. Prof. Bryntenson was my mentor and my interest was ancient and medieval history. Two weeks after graduation, I married my college beau from Williams and we moved to Charleston, SC, his hometown. While he went to med school, I taught ancient and medieval history (9th grade) at Ashley Hall, a girls school. We then moved to Houston for my husband's training and I received a master's degree in history from U of Houston. We then moved to Seattle and after two children I went to law school, my first two years at Seattle University and last year at Stanford, where we moved because my husband became a professor in the Dept. of Medicine. After receiving my law degree in 1979, I worked full time (and continue to do so) as a litigator/trial lawyer (defense). We moved back to Charleston in 1983 and are still here! I have developed an expertise in legal malpractice defense and I am a frequent lecturer in legal ethics. I am a partner in the second largest law firm in SC. Our children are now grown- our son went to Williams and was a history major and then received a JD and LLM in international law from U of Miami Law School; our daughter went to Brown and majored in Latin and biology and after teaching Latin for two years, is in LA as a actor. This may be far more than you want to know, however, it does illustrate the usefulness of a history degree- teaching, law school. Furthermore, history is one of the great liberal arts disciplines- it teaches you to analyze, organize and write. (I am on the web for our firm at www.NexsenPruet.com).