A History of the Department

Account provided by Jack Sikora (graduate and former instructor)

"During my undergrad years of 1961-65 the department was the History Department. The faculty was Dr. Martha Counts (Chair); Mr. Truman Warner; Mr. Tom Godward; Dr. Russ Fryer; Mr. Adam Bilecky; Mr. Arnold Stinchfield. Ms. Doris Corozier

Counts taught American History; Stichfield taught European; Warner taught anthropology, research seminar with Counts, and Japanese Culture. Crozier taught Concepts of Society. Bilecky did geography and “Nature of Man.” My favorite and most valuable course with him was “Geography of the USSR.” Fryer and Godward did political science and history.

Warner, who was a native of Danbury and alumnus of Danbury State Teachers College, came back after serving in WWII in the 5th Army as a medic. He was given a battlefield commission after saving a number of lives during combat in Italy. He taught in Old Lyme, CT and in NY State until he came aboard at the college in the late 1950’s as Director of Admissions. Truman wanted more than anything to teach; therefore, he finally convinced Ruth Haas to transfer him from admin to History faculty beginning in the fall of 1961. He served as advisor to the class of 1964. In 1964 he finished his Ph.D. .

I graduated in 1965; therefore, my institutional memory resumes in 1982 when I began teaching in what was by then the Social Sciences Department (actually the first course I taught was in History (Southeast Asian Cultures).

As I best understand it the department split sometime in the late 60’s or very early 70’s. Herb Janick would know the rest.

In 1964 the old department actually actively dissuaded people from becoming majors. The feeling was that there were too many and that they wanted better people. They talked up how difficult the major was. I was President of freshman orientation in the fall of ’64 and recall Stinchfield giving a talk on the difficulties of History as a major to the entire incoming frosh class. It made people like me “legends.” The frosh looked up to history (social science) majors like some folks look upon football “heroes.”

 

Faculty Photos | Photo Montage

 

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