Graduation 2020

Congratulations to all this year’s graduates in history at the University of Maine! You have worked diligently for years to accomplish this goal, and we commend you, as well as your families and all those who supported you, on this happy occasion. In normal circumstances, we would all be celebrating together at the University commencement. This is not possible now, so we have created this page as a small acknowledgement of your success.

Below you will find a list of the BA, MA, and PhD graduates in our department. Each was asked a make a short statement. You will also find a list of history students who have won various department and campus awards. Finally, you will find two brief commencement addresses provided by the American Historical Association. One is by Lonnie G. Bunch III, an executive at the Smithsonian Institution; the other, by Mary Lindemann, president of the AHA.

We are living in a moment of tremendous historical significance. Historians of the future will look back at our time and assess the social, political, economic, and personal transformations that we are all experiencing. Our history graduates are better prepared than most to understand this contemporary history. We hope that you will now step forward to help in the work of healing and rebuilding; we hope too that you will help tell our history.

Bachelor of Arts

Brianna Ballard
After my undergrad, I hope to go on to graduate school in order to gain an advanced degree in archaeology.

Emily Jean DeCristofano

Hannah Deschenes
Hannah Deschenes
I think that throughout my experience at the University of Maine and in studying history, I have learned how diverse the subject it. History is something that we all have a relationship with whether that be personal or on a wider scale. As a history major I am excited by the prospect of connecting people and helping them understand how important this study is. Our history as a nation, and as a world is priceless. Although it’s never perfect, it is so important to understand and to talk about.

Joseph Flaherty

Growing up, history was my favorite subject in school, and the one I excelled at the most. Because of that, I declared as a History major before I ever stepped foot on campus at the University of Maine as a student. If there is one thing that I appreciate about the study of History, it’s how it allowed me to hone basic, essential skills. I am a more skilled writer, researcher, and thinker because of my time with the History department at the University of Maine. Studying History has also allowed me to develop other interests, and that is why I declared for one major, and left with two majors and two minors. I will always be grateful for the flexibility and opportunity that my study of History afforded me. I also must thank my advisor as well as the department staff for helping me get through my time at the University of Maine. I could not have done it without them, or without my fellow students, who also have my eternal gratitude. Here’s to the college of our hearts, always.

Jared Gay

Cliff Greco
Cliff Greco
I enjoyed my time studying at UMaine and learning about the many different themes within the discipline of history. One quote that relates to this is “Tis better to be fortunate than wise.” I have certainly been fortunate for the friends and professors that I have met at UMaine and I am truly grateful.

Dan Hicks

I enjoyed my study of history it has shown me the world through multiple different lenses. Making me come to terms with just how important the past is to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

Justin Jermyn
My study of history has shown me that the subject is far more complex than I have been led to believe, and I love it. It has shown me that nothing in life may be quite as it seems and it has given me a deeper appreciation of the past, as well as the present. Studying history has shown me how important it is, now more than ever, for us to learn from it.

Brittany Kucera

I really enjoyed studying history at the University of Maine. I was able to gain a broad understanding of history from a multitude of perspectives. A key take away from my learning was that it is not a single event that creates history, but a series of occurrences, that, once strung together establish the conditions for particular historical events. I am very grateful that there are a group of professors at this university with a deep understanding and appreciation for the past. Each of whom has a different area of focus and a unique approach to the study of history. I look forward to using everything that I have learned here in the future!

Parker Lambert
I have cherished the opportunity to pursue my passion for History at the University of Maine. I am among the lucky few who have had the privilege to learn from some of the most knowledgeable professors the University of Maine has to offer. It may be the case that my in class humor, late night emails pestering for advice, or pleas for last minute extensions will leave some of the faculty feeling less lucky, though I hope this is not the case. I will forever be indebted to the History Department at the University of Maine for making me the man and student I am today. I have no doubt they have thoroughly prepared me for the future challenges and endeavors I will face as I pursue a degree in Law.

Cheyenne Laszlo
Cheyenne Laszlo
For my capstone my topic was An Analysis on the Impacts of Technology on Society Through Clothing From 1800 to 1920. My future plans is to attend Graduate School here at UMaine this upcoming Fall of 2020 for Student Development in Higher Education.

Jennifer Munson
Jennifer Munson
I am attending graduate school at UMaine in the fall to complete my Master’s degree. I hope to continue learning from the faculty here and someday enter a career that includes historical research.

Kyle O’Brien

Matt Ryckman
Matt Ryckman
During my time at the University of Maine I focused on the study of medieval history. As I worked through the program my interests broadened to include the history of mathematics from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. Following this path, my capstone experience centered on a historical analysis of an eighteenth-century geometry text, composed by Isaac Barrow, which required me to take close look at the ways geometry had been used over several centuries in the West.

Collin Soucy

Nathan Soule

Master of Arts

Zachary Beals
Principal Area of Focus: North American History

Sean Cox
Sean Cox
Title of Thesis: “Making Vacationland: Automobility Creating the Modern Tourism Borderlands of Maine and New Brunswick, 1875-1939”
My graduate work has focused on environmental and technological history in the international tourism borderlands of Maine and New Brunswick’s early 20th century. Propelled by petrol along rural roads, early autoists and local governments reshaped the concept of tourism and landscapes of these rebranded northeastern vacationlands. My study of history will continue through a Ph.D. program at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, in the fall of 2020.

Lydia Elwell
Principal Area of Focus: Canadian-American & Women’s History

Andrew Mallory

Title of Thesis: “The Monolithic View: On the Plurality of Political Theologies in the Writings of Ernst Kantorowicz”
Studying history at the University of Maine has been a profoundly educative experience, in countless aspects. While my own research has focused on modern European – and more specifically German – intellectual history, I have been able to take classes in early American history, medieval studies, media culture, U.S foreign policy, and everything in between. It is difficult to imagine my scholarly future without the breadth and depth of learning that I have received from my teachers and colleagues at UMaine.

Martin Novom

Title of Thesis: “Helping Wounded Soldiers and Anxious Families: The United States Sanitary Commission and the Origins of Modern Philanthropy in the United States”
During the time of my graduate studies I was continually searching for a potential topic that bridged the divide between historical scholarship and my professional work as a fundraiser. The theme of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and how its work was a significant advancement of philanthropy in the US, did just that.

Doctor of Philosophy

Ronald Baines (awarded posthumously)
Ronald Baines
Title of Dissertation: “Separating God’s Two Kingdoms: Regular Baptists in Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, 1780 to 1815”
Ron Baines earned an M.Div. degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2007 and served as pastor for Baptist churches in Massachusetts and Maine before starting the history doctoral program. He had a deep commitment to early American religious history as well as to missionary work in Africa. Although he died suddenly of a brain tumor in 2016, he had completed a draft of his entire dissertation and he will be awarded a posthumous Ph.D. from UMaine in 2020.

Charles “Chuck” Deshaies

Title of Dissertation: “The Rise and Decline of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Ontario and Quebec During World War II, 1939 – 1945”
For some time, Canada has had a reputation for having a more generous social welfare state than the United States of America. That was not always the case. By the end of the Great Depression, Canada was a laggard in comparison to its American counterpart. That changed with the establishment of a democratic-socialist political party; the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). They never won power at the federal level but greatly influenced the Liberal regime of Mackenzie King to lay the groundwork for the Canadian welfare state during the Second World War. My dissertation, “The Rise and Decline of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Ontario and Quebec During World War II, 1939 – 1945”, explores the struggle this party undertook in Canada’s most populous provinces at this critical moment in history. Now that this project is complete, I am anxious to examine why the CCF (and later, its successor, the NDP) struggled in Canada’s maritime provinces.

Joseph R. Miller

Title of Dissertation: ““The men were sick of the place:” Soldier Illness and Environment and the War of 1812”
I wrote an environmental history of the War of 1812. I work at the National Guard Bureau now, and I’m currently writing the contingency historical report on the National Guard’s response to COVID-19. I’m also studying the role of the National Guard and the formation of US Space Force.

Annie Tock Morrisette

Title of Dissertation: “”Dangerous to the Public Peace”: The Party Processions Acts and the Struggle over Public Space in Ireland and Canada, 1829-1852″

History Department Award Winners

Comstock-Weston Scholarship
Brianna Ballard
Collin Soucy
Matt Ryckman

Caroline Colvin Scholarship
Established in 1976, this scholarship honors the memory of Caroline Colvin, a distinguished historian and the first woman to chair a department at the University of Maine. Awarded annually to women history majors who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.
Marlana Mix

Nancy R. Johnson Prize in Ancient History
In recognition of their devoted service to the University of Maine, the friends of former President and Mrs. Arthur M. Johnson created the Nancy Johnson Prize in 1990, to be awarded annually to the student attaining the most outstanding record in the study of Ancient History.
Cliff Greco

Ronald F. Banks Scholarship
In memory of Ronald F. Banks, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maine, this scholarship was established in 1979 by members of his family, friends, colleagues and students, and is awarded annually to students in the field of history who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.
Chris Brunton

Roger B. Hill Scholarship
The Roger B. Hill Fund provides funds annually to recognize outstanding students in each of the seven departments within Humanities. The scholarship fund was created in 1980 through a bequest of Roger B. Hill.
Evan Hebert

Laurence and Elizabeth Evans Award
The Laurence Evans and Elizabeth Taylor Evans Fund was established in 1994 for the benefit of the University of Maine with bequests from Laurence Evans, a member of the class of 1951, and Elizabeth Taylor Evans, a member of the class of 1944. The income from this fund provides an annual award to the graduating senior History major with the highest academic record.
Parker Lambert

Charles J. Dunn Scholarship
The Charles J. Dunn Fund was created in 1994 through a bequest to the Department of History by Barbara Dunn Hitchner in memory of her father, a long time resident of Orono and a Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court. In 1995 the History Department committed a portion of these funds to The Charles J. Dunn Trust Award, to be presented to the graduating senior with the highest academic record who will enter a graduate program in the following semester.
Ryan Byers

Best HTY 498 Capstone Essays
Matt Ryckman
Collin Soucy
Milly Girardin

John J. Nolde Prize
An Nguyen

Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship
An Nguyen

Bowen Scholarship (Canadian Research)
Maggie Kontra-Emmens

Ipsen/Weiner Memorial Scholarship
Sarah Witthauer

Canadian Center Graduate Fellowship
Hannah Schmidt

New England-Atlantic Provinces-Quebec Fellowship
Brittany Goetting

Foreign Language and Areas Studies Award
As part of its mission, the Canadian-American Center provides federally-funded Academic Year and Summer Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Awards to support the bilingual research (typically English/French) of graduate students and for the intensive study of the French language or less commonly-taught languages such as First Nation’s languages, Mechif, and Inuktitut.
Adam Weyeneth

F.R. Mitchell Award
Erin Best

National Security Education Program David L. Boren Fellowship
Dakota Gramour

Charles J. Dunn Dissertation and Thesis Research Grant
Martin Novom
Andrew Mallory
An Nguyen
Darcy Stevens

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduating Senior in History
Collin Soucy

Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow
Matthew Ryckman


Commencement address by Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He served as the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and is the author of A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump (2019) and Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on History, Race and Museums (2011).

Commencement address by Mary Lindemann, president of the American Historical Association as well as professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Miami. She is the author of many books including Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (2010) and Liaisons Dangereuses: Sex, Law, and Diplomacy in the Age of Frederick the Great (2006).