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 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

Congratulations to our New Honors Students

The History department once again recognized our outstanding majors by awarding them membership in a select group: Phi Alpha Theta, class of 2018. This History Honors society only welcomes the best junior and senior history majors, and our Eastern chapter hosted a dinner in their honor on April 5th. The event, which included a solemn candle-lighting ritual that probably dates back to the Freemasons, is a celebration of all the hard work and effort that these students have put into their studies. We expect big things of them in the future!

Honors inductees (left to right): Kenneth (Matt) Pulk, Taryn McCabe, Michael Theriault, Theresa Johnson, Christopher Ladd, banner with Ouroboros, Chelsea Dahmer, Cameron Noel, Erik Rosati, Gerry Denardi, Erica Davidson. Not pictured: Ryan Bridges, Sarah Brihan, Harrison Brooks, Michael Byne, Katerina Mazzacane.

At the same ceremony, this year’s Victoria Soto award was awarded to Taryn McCabe.

Taryn McCabe, winner of the 2018 Victoria Soto Award

Congratulations to all!


Congratulations and Farewell

To all of our graduating seniors. Fortunately, somebody thought to bring a camera to our annual graduating seniors reception and awards ceremony – we’re working on a better title – so we can all remember the accomplishments of the past four years (hopefully only four years).

And yes, there was cake.



Who all was there? Only the best and brightest our department has to offer. Of course all of our graduating seniors are the best and the brightest, but notable mentions go to the following award winners:

Outstanding History Major: Mike Lisitano (with department chair Dr. Kirchmann)

Outstanding History Major: Mike Lisitano (with department chair Dr. Kirchmann)

Two students were awarded the Outstanding History/Social Science award:

Outstanding History/Social Science major Alaina Torromeo

Outstanding History/Social Studies major Kate Butler

Outstanding History/Social Studies major Kate Butler

Next we have our Outstanding History/American Studies major:

Outstanding History/American Studies major

Outstanding History/American Studies major Adrianna Mihalek

Three graduating seniors earned a Service to the Department award for their contributions to the History Club and Team History, the department’s championship pedigreed College Bowl team:

Shawn Batchelder

Shawn Batchelder

Claire Tensa

Claire Tensa

Patrick Thomson

Patrick Thomson

Another student was honored by being selected as Student Marshall:

Gabrielle Archibald

Gabrielle Archibald

Two History majors were also awarded scholarships for their academic achievement:

Taryn McCabe, recipient of the Ann and Kenneth Tucker Scholarship Award

Taryn McCabe, recipient of the Ann and Kenneth Tucker Scholarship Award

Sara Dean, recipient of the first Dr. Thomas Anderson Memorial Prize

Sara Dean, recipient of the first Dr. Thomas Anderson Memorial Prize

And, finally, professors teaching the History capstone seminar are allowed to recognize one student for writing the best seminar paper in their class. For Fall 2016, the best seminar papers were:

  • Michael Lisitano, “The Normans of Southern Italy: Conquests of the Hautville Family”, with Dr. David Frye.
  • Devin Stanley, “‘We had to organize, we had to move, we had to get started’: The Organization of the American Gay Rights Movement”, with Dr. Tom Balcerski.

The winners of the Spring 2017 seminar paper awards will be announced this summer on this blog.

So congratulations to all graduating seniors, and good luck in your future endeavors! Don’t forget to keep in touch.

Oh, wait, before you go… I almost forgot, can we get everyone together for a group photo?

Group photo, with everyone together

Group photo, with everyone together. For that last time.

Congratulations new Honor Society members

Phi Alpha Theta, the national History Honors Society, was established in 1921 and now has over 400,000 members, from undergraduates History majors to History professors. At last week’s induction ceremony and dinner, the Eastern branch of PAT, Alpha Mu Alpha, was proud to welcome more than a dozen new members to that exclusive club. PAT 2017This year’s inductees include, from left to right: Samantha Normington, Alexa Potter, Andrea Slater, Adam Murphy, Alexandra Tynan, Elijah Trott, PAT banner (honorary member), Shannon Barillari, Zachary Loughead, Jared Kranc, Cassandra Morton, Taryn McCabe.
Dr. Stefan Kamola, Joseph DeMarco and Christopher Morris were also inducted, though unable to attend.

Congratulations to all for your hard work!

Congratulations and Adieu

This past Monday the History department hosted its annual, year-end Graduating Seniors Reception. There was crab cake, “Chinese pirogies,” and a cake even made a (brief) appearance.

Awards were distributed to our seniors for their hard work and accomplishments, and much merriment was had.

Graduating Senior Awardees

AWARDEES (Left to right, back row):
Michael Lisitano (David M. Roth Scholarship)
Lauren Grenier (Outstanding History/American Studies Major)
Sabreena Croteau (Outstanding History Major)
Emily Komornik (Outstanding History Major)
Sara Dean (Ann and Kenneth Tucker Scholarship)
Richard Astley (Outstanding History/Social Science Major)
Front row:
Melissa Rogers (Student Marshall)
Talia Erris (Outstanding History Major)


Other awards given out include those for the year’s best seminar papers:
Talia Erris for “ ‘Five Feet of Feminine Anarchy:’ Press Depictions of Emma Goldman, 1892-1901” (Dr. Carenen, Fall 2015).
Jessica Suplee for “Margaret Randall and Alma Guillermoprieto: Revolutionary Commitment and the Cuban Experience” (Fall 2015, Dr. Meznar).

The awards for the Spring 2016 senior seminars will be announced on the blog in the future.

Congratulations to all, and good luck. And don’t forget to keep in touch!

Previous Roth Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our previous Roth Scholarship winners:

2013 Christine Geer

2012 Sylvie Chho

2011 Jennifer Levesque

2010 Michael Tierney

2009 Alexis Cavanaugh

2008 Baron Faiola

2007 Hailie Bomster

2006 Adam Brzozowski

2005 Kelly Gardner

2004 Meaghan Kehoegreen

2003 Robyn Rodriguez

2002 Ashley Stevens

2001 Asa O’Brien

2000 Michael Murphy

1999 Deborah Gray

1998 John Chapdelaine

1997 Dennis Doyle

1996 Geraldine Haddad

1995 Monique St. Jean

1994 James Wiese

1993 Kerstin Katko

1992 Christopher Hill

1991 No award

1990 Joann Koch

1989 Eric Christiansen

1988 John Wheeler

1987 Margaret Caton

David M. Roth Scholarship

In 1985, this endowed scholarship was established in remembrance of David M. Roth, renowned Connecticut historian and Eastern history professor of 23 years. It is awarded to a History or History and Social Science major with distinguished academic performance and with evidence of initiative and leadership in the field. The student will also demonstrate unmet financial need.

The History faculty recommends the senior History major with the highest academic accomplishment for the David M. Roth Scholarship.