Fall 2023 History Department Newsletter

Greetings from the Department of History at the University of Minnesota,

As I reflect on my first year as chair, I’m grateful to Ann Waltner, who provided such visionary leadership and will be bringing that energy to a term as interim CLA dean. After twenty-five years as a faculty member in such an extraordinary community, I’m excited to give back, and I’m remembering the contributions of my father Clarke Chambers, who chaired the department in the 1970s but retired before my arrival.


Alumni & Student Connections

I’m enjoying the opportunity to connect with alumni, including through the fascinating discussions in the History Book Club. I’m proud of the many accomplishments of our undergraduate and graduate students, and thankful to alumni James Stolpestad and Jeff Ecklund for their generosity in establishing new summer research opportunities:

  • The Paul Murphy Fellowship in Legal History for graduate students.
  • The Stolpestad History Scholarship for undergraduates to research topics related to Minnesota history.

We also wish to thank the family of the late Professor Emeritus John Howe for endowing the John R and Judith J Howe Scholarship for undergraduate students interested in American history.

We invite you to get involved:

Faculty Achievements

Our faculty continue to play critical roles in the University and broader community.

  • Associate Dean Malinda Lindquist was honored with the University’s Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Award, and as of October 1 will assume the position of Associate Vice President for Institutional Engagement & Education Justice in the University’s Office for Equity & Diversity.
  • Kevin Murphy, inaugural faculty director for the Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, continues to advance public history collaborations.
  • William Jones and Patrick McNamara were honored as President’s Community-Engaged Scholars for their work, respectively, to increase accountability for police while protecting the rights of public employee unions and to advocate for asylum seekers while minimizing barriers to the disabled community.


Publications and awards of history faculty are too numerous to list. I do want to share three highlights:

  • Steven Ruggles was selected by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as a MacArthur Fellow for building the world’s largest publicly available population database.
  • Jean O’Brien joins a distinguished group of UMN historians named as Regents Professors.
  • Ann Waltner received the CLA Dean’s Medal.


Farewells & Welcomes

After more than two decades of excellent scholarship, teaching, and leadership of the Immigration History Research Archive, Erika Lee has taken a position at Harvard, so we are currently conducting a senior search in Immigration History. We also thank retiring colleagues Elaine Tyler May, Carol Hakim, Patricia Lorcin, and Iraj Bashiri for their years of excellent teaching and research. And we mourn the passing of five faculty emeriti members:


As we bid farewell to those colleagues, we were pleased to welcome new faculty member Yalile Suriel and Presidential Postdoc Joo-hyeon Oh. We’ll also be joined by visiting professor Oleksandr Komarenko from the National University of Kyiv, who will teach a special course on Ukraine and Russia in spring 2024.

Warm regards,
Sarah Chambers

Share on: