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Greetings from the Department Chair

by David Sowell


Greetings from the chair!

Is history cyclical? Founders—I. Harvey Brumbaugh—Founders; does this mean that one day we will pack up our bags and move back to our Mifflin Street abode?

Our news this year is clearly the move to Founders.

Imagine if you will a scene from last May. The front porch is filled with bags of recyclable notes from lectures and classes; all vacant spaces of the first floor of I. Harvey are full of boxes; each office space has its share of boxes; the student lounge is home to both empty boxes and taping materials (blue tape means it goes to Founders; white means it will go somewhere else); and we are all crazy from packing, sorting, and the realization of how much junk we had in our offices. (Well, not Professor Stiffler, he had packed up his office before he left for his sabbatical in China the previous summer.) We are fighting over who gets to use the good tape dispenser and very grumpy over whoever thought it was a good idea that the department be returned to the heart of the campus.

Imagine now all those boxes, the pictures from our walls, the knick-knacks from our shelves, and our harried selves scattered on 3rd floor Founders. It was clear to us that life would never be the same, that the books would not fit on the shelves, and that we would never be able to prepare for classes. (Where are those notes?) On top of that, we had to take our laptops to our classes if we wanted to do a power-point presentation. I for one feared the impact of the move upon the collegiality of the department. We could no longer gather at the water fountain to discuss our teaching strategies (or March Madness picks).

But, as Professor Hsiung reminded us, we now have the most powerful hand-dryers this side of Cape Canaveral. And our windows are large, airtight and clean. And the orange carpets are becoming a distant unpleasant memory. And the heaters work. So too does the air conditioning. Our student lounge is the envy of the campus. Most of our classes were in Founders so that we did not have to brave the coldest, snowiest winter in recent memory. Maybe we could adjust to the new world.

If you haven’t had the chance, please come to visit us in the new Founders Hall. We are proud of our new digs and would love to show you around.

Meanwhile, the business of the department goes on. The faculty continues to offer a range of interesting courses and engage in a range of scholarly activities.

We hope that you enjoy the news from the History department. We would love to hear of your news.