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Professor David Schmitz to write latest volume of Whitman’s history

Professor David SchmitzWork is underway on the next volume of Whitman's history.

Professor David Schmitz, Robert Allen Skotheim chair of history, will research and write the third volume of Whitman's history over the next five years. The volume will cover 1975 to 2015, from Robert Allen Skotheim's presidency to the end of George Bridges' term.

Schmitz called it a critical time in the college's history and a great time of growth and transition.

The first two volumes of Whitman's history were commissioned by former president Robert Skotheim and written by Tom Edwards, the William Kirkman professor of history emeritus, who served at the college from 1964 until his retirement in 1998.

"The third volume will look at how Whitman fits into the nation's history and the history of higher education, while having many of the same characteristics of institutional history that made Professor Tom Edwards volumes stand out," said Schmitz.

Schmitz will research Whitman's history as he has any of the other books he's authored, consulting the archival records and conducting oral histories. Some of the work has already begun. Schmitz has spoken with former president Skotheim to conceptualize the project and has started identifying other sources he will use, as well as themes and topics he plans to cover.

Schmitz's work on the volume is being funded by a generous donor.

This academic year will be Schmitz's 32nd at Whitman College. He will teach full-time for two more years while continuing his research. He will then turn his full attention to working on the college's history.

"It seems to me that a serious place requires a serious examination of itself and look at where it's been to help it understand where it wants to go, should go, can go," said Schmitz.

Published on Aug 1, 2016
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