Resources for Alumni Volunteers

Speakers: History

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*Please note, making a request does not guarantee your speaker will be available. Please wait for confirmation from the Alumni Association before advertising your event.

View full speaker list for additional speech topics.


BermanDouglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Director, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Bio and Topics

Professor Douglas A. Berman attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school in 1993, Professor Berman served as a law clerk for Judges Jon O. Newman and Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After clerking, Professor Berman was a litigation associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison in New York City.

Professor Berman came to Ohio State in 1997 and his principal teaching and research focus is in the areas of criminal law, criminal sentencing and drug policy. Professor Berman has co-authored two casebooks, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, and Marijuana Law and Policy: Cases and Materials and serves as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Professor Berman received The Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is given to only 10 people each year from an eligible pool of nearly 3,000 faculty members. Professor Berman was one of the youngest faculty members ever to receive this award, and he was subsequently asked to chair the university committee that selected recipients in the 2002-03 school year.

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Topics: Marijuana reform; Mass incarceration/criminal justice reform; Drug policy; Federal criminal justice politics and sentencing

*Available for virtual presentations

*Available for golf outings

Nicholas Breyfogle, PhD, Associate Professor, History

Bio and Topics

Nicholas Breyfogle is Associate Professor of History at Ohio State. The author or editor of twelve volumes, Breyfogle is a specialist in environmental history (especially the history of water) and Russian/Soviet history. For the last 14 years, he has been a founding editor of the magazine Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. In addition to things Russian (tsars, revolutions, and the Soviet years) and “Putin-ish”, he also gives talks widely about global water concerns (droughts, floods, pollution, etc) climate, and other similar issues.

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Topics: Russia Then and Now; Global Environment History

Tamar Chute, University Archivist and Professor

Bio and Topic

As University Archivist, Mrs. Chute oversees and implements outreach and engagement for the University Archives both on and off campus.Mrs. Chute has given presentations on all aspects of university history, including the University’s founding, student traditions and activities, buildings on campus, and OSU then-and-now.She is author of the book Time & Change: 150 Years of The Ohio State University.During spring semester Mrs. Chute teaches the course “The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World.”Mrs. Chute’s professional research has focused primarily on teaching with primary sources, college and university outreach,and how federal privacy laws affect archival users.

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Topic: The Ohio State University History

*Available for virtual presentations

CurtisDr. Kent “Kip” Curtis, Associate Professor, Environmental History

Bio and Topics

Professor Curtis specializes in Environmental History and Environmental Studies with research and teaching foci on mining, environmental ideas, and food systems. He is currently Principal Investigator on a $2 million Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research “Seeding Solutions” project, which began implementation in 2019. In 2020, Curtis published his third major peer-reviewed mining essay, “’Tanks are Born Underground’: Mining and World War II,” in Robertson, et al, The Nature of War: American Environments and World War II. Curtis is currently working on a book about his experiences in the field of environmental studies tentatively titled, Edible Peace: Food Systems as Vehicles for Social Justice. In addition to his research work, Curtis teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern United States history and environmental history and offers independent studies and undergraduate research opportunities in environmental history and the environmental studies and sciences.

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Topics: Mansfield microfarmproject, sustainable urban farming; Environmental History, mining; History of environmental ideas (U.S./west)

*Available for virtual presentations

GnidovecDale Gnidovec, Curator, Orton Geological Museum

Bio and Topics

Mr. Gnidovec is Curator of OSU’s Orton Geological Museum where he takes care of over 54,000 rocks, minerals and fossils and the exhibit hall and identifies rocks, minerals, fossils, and bones. He speaks to over 4,000 people a year including elementary through high school classes, Scouts and other youth groups, at parks, libraries, nature centers, retirement communities and clubs. He also teaches an Earth History course at OSU. He can speak on at least 10 different topics and is happy to discuss a hands-on presentation for your group.

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Topics: Geology Fossils; Dinosaurs; Ice Age

Peter Hahn, Professor of History, Divisional Dean Arts & Humanities College of Arts & Sciences

Bio and Topics

Professor Hahn has published seven books on the history of American diplomacy in the Middle East.  Hahn has conducted research in the archives of the United State, Israel, Britain and France; consulted with policymakers in the U.S departments of States, Defense and Justice, and with senior officers of the Ohio National Guard.  He has given interviews to the media on five continents.  Hahn helped launch an Ohio State study abroad program on World War II and its impact on the modern world.  He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan with an MA and PhD from Vanderbilt.

Topics: US History, WWII; US and Iraq since 1940; Modern history of international diplomacy and military conflict

*Available for golf outings

HarrisJim Harris, PhD, Lecturer, Department of History

Bio and Topics

Dr. Jim Harris is an historian of modern Europe (with a focus on Great Britain) and the history of science, medicine, and the environment. He received his Ph.D. from, and is currently a lecturer in, the department of history at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the history of public health, infectious diseases and the history of the human sciences, as well as global environmental history and the history of the First World War.

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Topics: History of Medicine (i.e. 1918 Influenza, History of Vaccines); European History since 1789 (especially that Great Britain); The Anthropocene/Climate Change

*Available for virtual presentations

HerrmannRichard K. Herrmann, PhD, Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences, emeritus

Bio and Topics

Former Director of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and former Chair of the Department of Political Science. Also served on the PolicyPlanning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, when James Baker was Secretary of State. Has written extensively on U.S. foreign policy and especially its relationships with Russia, China and in the Middle East. He has also written on European politics,NATO and the European Union. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Taught for 36 years at Ohio State, receiving the Arts and Sciences Student Council Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009-2010.

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Topics: U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy (design, formulation, and future); Russian politics and Moscow’s foreign policy, especially in Europe (e.g. Ukraine and NATO) and in the Middle East (e.g. Syria); Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and U.S. policy in the Middle East; The politics of NATO and the European Union; The rise of China and U.S. relations with China, Japan and South Korea

*Available for virtual presentations

HothersallDavid Hothersall, Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Bio and Topic

A former student comments on Rate My Professor – ‘Best professor I’ve ever had! Passionate and engaging; The best part is the stories and anecdotes he tells in class. I’d repeat the class in a heart-beat!’ Born in England and emigrated to South Africa, he received his BA with Honors with Distinction in Psychology as a graduate of the University of London.  He directed the Honors Program at Ohio State from 1990-1998.  His tales of early Ohio State are humorous and fascinating.

Topic: An Illustrated History of The Ohio State University

*Available for virtual presentations

KleffnerMark Kleffner, Professor

Bio and Topics

I am a graduate of Ohio State, where I earned a BS, MS, and PhD in geology, and I am currently a Professor of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University at Lima, where I have been teaching since 1989.  In fact, I have been a student or a professor at Ohio State continuously since 1975, so I am nearly a lifetime Buckeye.  All three of my children attended or attend Ohio State Lima. I am a paleontologist and stratigrapher, doing research on Silurian fossils (particularly conodonts) and rocks, mainly in the Great Lakes, Midwest, and central Appalachian regions. I bowled for Ohio State for four years as an undergraduate and graduate student, and was the coach of the Ohio State women’s team for the following two years while I was a graduate student. I still bowl in one league during the regular bowling season and play on a senior-league softball team during the summer.

Topics: Fossils; Minerals and Rocks of Ohio; Prehistoric Ocean Life Dinosaurs and Earthquakes in Ohio

Larry Krissek, Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences

Bio and Topics

Dr. Krissek joined the faculty at Ohio State in 1982.His teaching has ranged from introductory courses on geology to graduate courses on sediments.He has received teaching awards from Ohio State’s Stone Lab, the School of Earth Sciences, and The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Larry’s research focuses on understanding Earth’s climate history as recorded in sediments and sediments and rocks. He has worked in Antarctica, led Ohio State’s Study Abroad program to Antarctica, and sailed on nine scientific ocean drilling cruises.

Topics: Antarctica; Geological Hazards; Reading Climate History from the Ocean Floor; Geologic Setting of Lake Erie

*Available for virtual presentations

Mitchell Lerner, PhD, Professor of History, Faculty Associate, Mershon Center for International Security, Director, Institute for Korean Studies

Bio and Topics

Mitchell Lerner is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. His research and teaching focus is on modern American diplomatic and political history during the Cold War, with an emphasis on U.S.-Korean relations. He came to Ohio State in 2000, and is now the director of the Institute for Korean Studies.Lerner has received fellowships and grants from the Korea Foundation, Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where he won the Kovler Fellowship in Foreign Intelligence in 2001. He has served as editor of Passport: The Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations Review. In 2005, Lerner won the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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Topics: U.S. / Korean Relations; East Asia

*Available for virtual presentations

Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History

Bio and Topics

Dr. Peter Mansoor, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), is the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History at The Ohio State University and a frequent commentator in the media on national security affairs. A 1982 distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he earned his doctorate from The Ohio State University. He assumed his academic position in September 2008 after a 26 year military career that included two combat tours and which culminated in his service as the executive officer to General David Petraeus, the Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

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Topics: World War II, Iraq War, The Surge, The War Against ISIS, U.S. National Security

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

MurphyLucy Murphy, PhD, Professor of History at the Ohio State University, Newark

Bio and Topics

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy is Professor of History at the Ohio State University, Newark, where she has taught since 1999. Her research focuses on intercultural, interracial, and gender relations on Midwestern American borderlands. She is the author and editor of five books, including Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750 – 1860, a case study of a fur-trade town in transition (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Most recently, she co-edited with Mary Elise Antoine Frenchtown Chronicles of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin by Albert Coryer, which was published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2016.

Dr. Murphy helped to create Ohio State’s American Indian Studies Program and serves on the AIS oversight committee; in addition, she helped to create the Ohio State Newark Earthworks Center and is a member of its Faculty Oversight Committee. She has received numerous awards, including the Ohio Academy of History 2020 Teacher of the Year Award, and the Ohio State University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award, among others.

Topics:The Newark Earthworks of Ohio and quest for World Heritage Status, Native Americans and the creation of Ohio’s Earthworks, US History prior to 1877, Women’s Gender and Sexuality History

Media links

https://history.osu.edu/people/murphy.500

http://ancientohiotrail.org/sites/newark

http://worldheritageohio.org/

*Available for virtual presentations

Tyler A. Osborne, University Archives Assistant

Bio and Topics

Tyler Osborne works at The Ohio State University Archives as the Sesquicentennial Archives Assistant. She supports the projects of the sesquicentennial relating to the university’s history including the book Time and Change: 150 Years of The Ohio State University, two gallery exhibitions and the massive open online course “Buckeye Biography.” She has been in the role since January 2018 after she graduated from Ohio State with her degree in History with a minor in History of Art.

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Topics: General University History

*Available for virtual presentations

PelletierJeff Pelletier, Director, Ohio Union Operations and Events

Bio and Topics

Jeff is the Director of Ohio Union Operations and Events in the Office of Student Life at The Ohio State University. He has been at Ohio Statesince 2002, when he started as a graduate student in the Ohio Union. He has held a variety of roles in the Office of Student Life, including business operations, Sorority and Fraternity Life, and student organization management.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Boston College, then spent five years as an active duty officer in the U.S. Navy, working in the submarine and intelligence communities, and three years supporting Naval Warfare Analysis as a contractor in the Washington D.C. area. He relocated to Columbus to pursue a career in higher education, and earned two master’s degrees from Ohio State, in higher education and student affairs (2004), and business operational excellence (2014).Throughout his career, Jeff’s has served theAssociation of College Unions International (ACUI) in a variety of roles including International Education Council member, regional conference co-chair, regional business manager, and Board of Trustees at-large member. He served as the 90th President of the Association from 2017-2018, and is currently a member of the Education and Research Fund team. He has received regional awards for his volunteer service to ACUI, and has shared his knowledge and love of college unions at countless regional and annual conferences, professional development programs, and online learning programs.

Jeff and his wife Jen live in Columbus, Ohio, where they enjoy participating in their local curling club, as players, instructors, and volunteers.

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Topics: Role of the College Union on campus; Ohio Union History/traditions/branding; Working with Military-Connected Students; How to Find Your “Why”

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

ShkurtiWilliam J. Shkurti, Author & Adjunct Professor, John Glenn College

Bio and Topics

Bill entered Ohio State as a freshman in the fall of 1964. He graduated with a BA in Economics in 1968 and earned a Master’sDegree in Public Administration in 1974. He served for 20 years as Ohio State’s Vice President for Business and Finance before retiring in 2010. He still remains involved with university as a distinguished adjunct professor in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He has written two books about Ohio State in the 60s: The Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order, published by Ohio State Press in 2016 and Ohio State Student Life in the Sixties published in 2020 by History Press. He lives in Upper Arlington with his wife Renee, who is also an Ohio State graduate.

Topics: Ohio State student activism in the 60s (includes antiwar, civil rights and free speech movements); Ohio State student life in the 60s (includes how students partied, what they wore, what they watched and where they hung out); Ohio State sports in the 60s (explores both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, including the 1961 Rose Bowl that wasn’t, the 1961-62 basketball dream team and the 1969 national championship)

*Available for virtual presentations

StaleyDavid J. Staley, Associate Professor of History

Bio and Topics

Dr. David Staley is an associate professor of history and a futurist at The Ohio State University. He is the author of four books:

• Alterative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education

• Brain, Mind and Internet: A Deep History and Future

• Computers, Visualization and History

• History and Future: Using Historical Thinking to Imagine the Future

He serves as host of the podcast “Voices of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences,” and has been the host of the “Buckeye Biography,” an online course on the history of Ohio State produced for the Sesquicentennial. Everyspring semester, David teaches the course “The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World” with University Archivist Tamar Chute.

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Topics: The History and Future of The Ohio State University; Technology Trends and their Future Implications (Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, the future of work, the future of education, e.g.)

*Available for virtual presentations

Full speaker list