back to news July 16, 2012

History's European WWII Tour for Alumni & Friends Showcases New Undergraduate Program

Pictured last week in Europe, left to right: History Professor and Department Chair Peter Hahn; Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee; History Professor David Steigerwald; and General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair in Military History, Peter Mansoor.

For the second year in a row Department of History faculty led a tour of European World War II sites for alumni and friends to showcase and raise awareness and support for history’s new undergraduate WWII study abroad program launching Spring Semester 2013.

This year’s 16 guests included eight Ohio State alums, representing a variety of professions including dentistry, business, music, law--and history.

Department of History Chair Peter Hahn, who put together this and last summer's trip for alumni amd friends, is gratified by the response he's had.

“All believe in the mission of Ohio State to educate our students for citizenship; they are very supportive of the goals of history’s new academic program, which is to provide rich learning opportunities that revolve around the weighty issues of war, peace, and societal change.

"This alumni and friends tour is a great experience for everyone; it allows us to serve our alumni and friends, and it helps to support our outstanding students. Our goal is to make this new study-tour program accessible for every student who has the ability, motivation, and drive to take on this rigorous academic challenge."

Many historians believe the place to start to understand today’s world and our place in it is World War Two—an event so cataclysmic that it literally re-shaped the world.

The challenge is to translate the importance, enormity and relevance of events that seem a long time ago and a world away to today’s students.

To bridge that divide, a battery of top World War II scholars designed an ambitious new program: The U.S and European World War II Academic Study Tour Program--an intensive, cross-disciplinary exploration of the war that will give students a new lens with which to view today’s world.

The use of World War II battlefields as history teaching tools has never before been done on this scale—a semester-long, four-course program, followed by a three-week, on site-course during the mini-Maymester, touring Europe where the war exploded.

The students’ learning experience will be intense, enviable, memorable, and unmatched. From January through April, these undergraduates will be a tight-knit community utterly immersed in an urgent examination of World War II from historical and cultural perspectives.

Students, who have to apply and compete to participate, will be chosen for the program this autumn. The program is intended to appeal not just to history majors, but to a diverse group of motivated students across a wide-range of disciplines. Non-history majors will receive a minor in history after successful completion of the program.

“It’s a very demanding program,” Hahn said. “From the first day of classes through the end of the tour, students will be as close to living the subject matter as one can get. This program will not only expand their understanding of the intricacies of the war and its outcomes, but will make them better citizens of the world.”

The alumni tour, while an abbreviated version of the three-week student tour, nevertheless gives its guests an educational experience far beyond any typical “tourist” tours available to the public. Visiting battle sites, museums, monuments, and cemeteries led by Ohio State faculty, Professors Peter Mansoor and David Steigerwald, who with Hahn, are all top scholars in the field—in addition to on-site experts, adds up to an incredible experience.

"This year's trip, with the Berlin extension for those who wanted to take advantage of it, was an invaluable on-site experience for Professors Steigerwald and Mansoor—two of the faculty who will teach program courses and lead the student tour next May—and myself, to see additional ways we might enhance the student program." Hahn said.

THE WORLD WAR II SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN HISTORY (#481997) helps make this opportunity accessible for undergraduate students. For more information, contact Professor Peter L. Hahn: Phone: 614-292-3001; Email: Hahn.29@osu.edu

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