ACHA Newsletter: Summer 2018

Volume I: Issue 3

As the lazy hazy days of summer pass, recalling the popular song from a generation or so ago in its refrain, I write to bring you Issue 3 of Volume I of the new American Catholic Historical Association Quarterly Newsletter. I hope this summer season, which for many of us provides opportunities for serious research, writing, and possibly new course preparation, has also brought a change of pace, recreation, and time for travel, and fun with family, friends, and colleagues. Before too long we will be back in the classroom dedicating ourselves primarily to our students and their needs. I hope the remaining time between now and the start of the fall semester is filled with many more opportunities that the usually less hectic summer months provide for those of us who walk the academic road each year.

Historically, I suspect, there is not as much going on with the Association during the summer as during the academic year, and so is true this year. Nevertheless, there are several important things that have transpired that I believe the membership should know and in many cases celebrate. First, our Graduate Student Grant Committee, chaired by Helen Ciernik, selected four of our junior members, Jillian Bjerke, Gabrielle Guillerm, Jacob Dross, and Anna Holdorf, as recipients of grants this year. On behalf of the Executive Council and the entire Association I offer my congratulations to these young scholars and hope that their efforts have been successful toward the completion of their dissertations and/or the preparation of an essay for publication. I would like to thank the Committee members for their service.

The Planning Committee for the forthcoming centennial celebration at our annual conference, January 3-5, 2019 in Chicago, chaired by Jim Carroll, has done a marvelous job, along with inputs from many other members to put together a program which will be worthy of this special centennial anniversary event. Traditional panels of related papers, together with roundtable discussions, and a special plenary session to be given by Joseph White are some of the highlights. In the fall, together with the registration process for the American Historical Association, our registration process will begin. Although it is some time off, I highly encourage members to make every effort to attend. It is not every day that we can celebrate a 100th birthday.

Another important note is associated with our organ, The Catholic Historical Review. Professor Nelson Minnich has been granted a well-deserved year-long sabbatical from his teaching duties at The Catholic University of America. The aforementioned Joseph White, who has served as an assistant editor of the Review for several years has graciously consented to take over Professor Minnich’s editorial duties until the conclusion of his sabbatical.

Lastly, I want to inform all our members about an important change in the administration of the ACHA.  In early March, the Executive Council was informed by our Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Fr. Bentley Anderson, SJ, that due to family concerns he was tending his resignation. Following the ACHA Constitution and by-laws, the Executive Council proceeded to seek nominations, speak with candidates, and then meeting “virtually” through a conference call elected Professor Charles Strauss of Mount St. Mary’s University as the new Executive Secretary-Treasurer.  On behalf of the entire membership of the Association, and specifically the Executive Council, I want to thank Father Bentley for his loyal and dedicated service for the past seven years. During his tenure the Association’s “professional face” has taken shape through the creation of an excellent website, online voting for Association officers, organized annual awards, conference preparation, and certainly our strong economic portfolio. I am indeed grateful to Professor Strauss for his willingness to take on this significant position and his enthusiastic embrace of his new duties. We wish Father Bentley well and we pledge our energetic support for Charles in his new duties.

One final piece of information can close this summer newsletter. As many of you know, over the past couple of years, there has been some discussion and investigation into a closer connection between our Association and the American Society of Church History. Unfortunately, due to the need to address the immediate concerns with Father Bentley’s departure, the Executive Council and I have not had the time necessary to more fully investigate greater collaboration between our two historical societies. Hopefully, with calmer waters in the fall, and, therefore, greater possibilities for dialogue, conversations between our two groups may continue in a positive manner.

On behalf of the Executive Council and certainly our past President, Professor Kathy Cummings and our present Vice President, Professor Katie Holscher, I want to thank all the members for their active participation, especially those who are graciously serving on various committees. The Association would not function well without the coordinated efforts of many. I wish you all a pleasant rest of the summer and a great beginning to academic year 2018-2019.

Rick Gribble, CSC
President ACHA 2018