Doug Craig, Eastern alum, history teacher, super sleuth

Earlier this summer, we reported on Doug Craig, an Eastern History major who was named Griswold Teacher of the Year in May.  Since then, the Hartford Courant has published a feature article on Doug, describing how he engages his students with the past by turning it into a detective story, or putting them in the hot seat facing crucial decisions that helped shape the course of history.  Our department is proud to have been one stop on Doug’s journey to express his twin loves of the past and of teaching.


Photo credit: Janice Steinhagen / Courant Community

Doctor Balcerski in the news

Assistant Professor of History Tom Balcerski (shown above, on the left) has been in the news recently.  Dr. Balcerski’s first book, Bosom Friends: the Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, will be released by Oxford University Press later this summer.  It explores the lives and relationship between this President and Vice President pair, challenging our modern assumptions about historical same-sex relationships and their place in early American public life.  With Pete Buttigieg (above, on the right), the openly gay mayor of South Bend Indiana, running to be the next president, Dr. Balcerski’s book strikes a timely chord.  As such, he has given interviews for both Time Magazine and NBC News, discussing the historical significance of Mayor Buttigieg’s candidacy.  In Faulkner’s words, “the past isn’t over.  It isn’t even past.”


Image credits: ECSU; Oxford University Press; City of South Bend

Quanece Williams (’16) is going to Law School at Cornell

Quanece Williams, an Eastern alum, a double major in History and Political Science, and a Barnard Scholar, has just shared some great news with us: she had received a scholarship to and will attend Cornell’s J.D./LL.M. International and Comparative Law program starting this Fall.


We are very proud of Quanece and wish her all the success at Cornell!

Michael Theriault on his time as a history major at Eastern

The following thoughts were written by Michael Theriault, 2019 graduating history major and Eastern senior class president.

Entering Eastern as a history major was one of the best decisions I have made in my undergraduate career. Many of the courses I enrolled in really made me stop and realize why I entered this field in the first place. The faculty went out of their way to treat all of their cohort like family and really wanted their students to succeed.

As president of the senior class I was able to give a speech at this past commencement. In it, I reminisced on the university’s many resources that helped us succeed in our academic journey. I could not help but think about the history department and how much of an effort they put in to make everyone feel proud to be in that field.

This past semester I was honored to receive the Victoria Soto Award at the Phi Alpha Theta induction ceremony. Obtaining this had me remember why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place and the tremendous sacrifices we will all make for our students. My goal is to end up as a history teacher and give students the opportunity I was fortunate enough to have.

The senior class committee and I presented Dr. Nunez with a scholarship in with the intention of passing our journey on to a new eastern student. As I said in my speech, we shouldn’t be sad that our time at eastern is over, but instead be glad that it made us into the people we are today.


On May 24, 2019, Douglas Craig was named Teacher of the Year in the Griswold School District.

Douglas Craig earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in history from Trinity College. He is currently a social studies teacher at Griswold High School, where he has worked since 2007. He teaches Advanced Placement history, he is chairman of the committee working on the district’s accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and he is a reader for the AP U.S. history exam. Doug was nominated for the honor by the parents of his students.

Congratulations, Doug!

P.S. Please note that in the photo below Doug is wearing an Eastern t-shirt!


On May 8, the History department celebrated its graduating seniors.  Faculty and alumni joined in the festivities.

The following students received awards:


Dana Meyer – Outstanding History major


Cassie Epes – Outstanding History/Social Science Major and winner of the Dr. Thomas Anderson Memorial Prize


Katelyn Stokes – Outstanding History major with a Concentration in American Studies

Gerry Denardi – Outstanding Service to the Department


Jacob Avery – Tucker Scholarship Award


Jessica Sullivan – Roth Scholarship Award


Ron Robbilard – Best HIS 400 Seminar Paper in Fall 2018


Martha Ennis – Best HIS 407 Seminar Paper in Fall 2018


On May 11, 2019, the ECSU History Alumni Board held an event on campus to connect with other history alumni as well as current students (future alumni!). It was an awesome event, complete with history games (alumni beat the profs… 😞), networking opportunities, and sumptuous food. The Alumni Board is planning more activities for the new academic year, so check out this blog for announcements! You may also join their facebook page for camaraderie and information.




Two history majors, Uriya Simeon and Allen Horn, along with Prof. Thomas Balcerski, attended the 2019 Draper Conference at the University of Connecticut. This year’s conference was titled “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War.” With 32 distinguished historians from around the nation lined up as speakers, the aim of the conference was to defy conventional perceptions of Reconstruction. The keynote speech was delivered by renowned historian Eric Foner.

For the full program, see


Student Allen Horn reflected on his experience at the conference:

Going into the Greater Reconstruction Conference, I felt both nervous and excited. I was looking forward to learning from so many great nineteenth century historians over those two days, but also felt intimidated to be in the same room as big names like Eric Foner. However, once I made the big step of talking with some of the presenters, I felt much more at ease. Overall, I learned about many new aspects of Reconstruction history from placenta fires to the rationale behind the language of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.”

Student Uriya Simeon also reflected about her conference experience:

One of my favorite panels featured Dr. Kendra Field from Tufts University. Having previously read her book Growing Up with the Country, it was exciting getting to hear her speak and meet her. Another historian and author whom I was excited to meet was Ari Kelman from UC Davis, whose graphic novel Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War I had read. I was able to meet him as well after hearing him speak. Overall, this conference was an amazing opportunity to network and grow my interests within history.

After the conference, Prof. Balcerski prepared a two-part post for Muster, the blog of the Journal of the Civil War Era. Check out the first post at





Ara Daglian, Jr. (’18), the Communications Director for the ECSU History Alumni Board, shares the following announcement: 

“The ECSU History Alumni board is hosting a networking event for alumni and current students who are looking for new ways to flex the skills they’ve gained as students of history.  

 The event will feature tables categorized by career field so that students and alumni can rotate as they see fit based on their goals and interests. We will also introduce small skill-building workshops based on desired areas of growth.  

 Light refreshments will also be provided. 

 We were hoping that each of you would be able to get the word out to your students, either during class or through Blackboard/email. We are hoping to have a successful event with a good turnout. 

The details are as follows: 

Networking Event: May 11th 


Science 301 

 Please let me know if you have any questions! 


Ara P. Daglian, Jr. 

Communications Director 

ECSU History Alumni Board”