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Prof. Bill Combs presents at the Conference

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Dykstra Scholarship winner Austin Schwartz, with Graduate Director Dr. Ginny Jelatis, left, and Ginger Dykstra, right

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History Conference attendees

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Apr 26, 2008

The 33rd Annual WIU History Conference, held on Saturday, April 26, exceeded all expectations. The conference, attended by more than 115 registrants, including secondary school history teachers, WIU alumni, and others interested in the study of history, featured three morning sessions, each with four WIU History faculty presentations for conference registrants to choose among.

Following lunch, conference organizer Dr. Ed Woell presented kind and much-appreciated comments about the new Department Chair, Dr. Ginny Boynton, and introduced Dr. Bill Combs, who presented the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Mr. Matthew Miller. Following Mr. Miller's thoughtful comments about the great value of a liberal arts education in the business world, Dr. Ginny Jelatis announced that the annual Conference's Keynote Address was being named the "Larry T. Balsamo Keynote Address," in honor of the Department's recently retired Chair and long-time conference organizer. A plaque with the names of all 33 Keynote Speakers was unveiled and Dr. Balsamo pronounced himself temporarily rendered speechless (but not for long).

This year's Larry T. Balsamo Keynote Address was given by Dr. James H. Willbanks, Director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Dr. Willbanks spoke on "The Lessons of the Tet Offensive," and answered numerous questions from those in attendance. (The WIU Department of History does not endorse any political candidate nor is any endorsement of guest speakers' political views implied or expressed. This policy is in accordance with generally accepted professional and ethical standards.)

Conference registrants had gathered the prior evening at the home of University President Dr. Al Goldfarb, to honor two WIU graduate students, Ben Rees, winner of this year's David Pasquini Award, and Austin Schwartz, who was awarded the Darrell and Virginia Dykstra Graduate Scholarship for a second year.

Next year's 34th Annual History Conference will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2009.

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