Reinhardt’s 131st commencement ceremony today included two history majors. Congratulations!
1. After working for several years in Los Angeles for DeBlase Brown Eyerly LLC, Reinhardt history major Tyler Lemen ’13 has returned to the area and is now an owner and manager of Rice Sushi restaurant. He will be marrying his fiancée Kaydee Whipple this week in Mexico.
2. History major Dan Audia ’08 worked for the Office of Admissions and then the Office of the Registrar at Reinhardt. In 2014, he accepted a job in the admissions department at Georgia Gwinnett College, and in 2015 he got an offer he couldn’t refuse to work as an admissions counsellor and STEM recruiter at Kennesaw State University. Since then he has been promoted to Admissions Director for MBA Programs at the Coles College of Business at KSU.
I was pleased to have dinner with Mr. Audia in Kennesaw last night – and especially pleased that he credits his success to the skills he learned as an undergraduate history major!
3. History major Lindsay Taylor ’10 taught at Dorchester Collegiate Academy, a charter school in Dorchester, Massachusetts before moving back to Georgia in 2015. Since then she has been teaching history at Wheeler High School in Cobb County. Last fall, Ms. Taylor was inducted into the Marietta Athletic Hall of Fame for her achievements as a soccer and basketball player for Marietta High School (two sports she continued to play at Reinhardt).
(Click on the link for a photograph from the Marietta Daily Journal.)
4. History major Lance Patrick ’06 recently received a JD degree from Emory Law School. He worked for the Office of the District Attorney for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, and as of last year is now with J.M. Heller Law Firm of Canton, Georgia. His practice areas include criminal defense, bankruptcy and debt relief, and wills and trusts.
• Congratulations to Wyatt Dean, 2015-16 history program student of the year.
• Congratulations to Associate Professor of History Anne Good on organizing another successful CultureFest on April 13th.
• Jonathan Good, in one of his last acts as Faculty Senate chair, carried the new Reinhardt mace at the inauguration of President Kina Mallard (from 7:52), and gave some words of encouragement (at 29:00).
• Anne Good has received a short-term fellowship for research at the University of Minnesota’s James Ford Bell Library. She will be traveling there in May.
• Anne Good was accepted to participate in a seminar entitled “Sight and Sound in Renaissance and Baroque Europe,” to be held at Atlanta’s High Museum in June. Jonathan Good was accepted to participate in a seminar on the Histories of Herodotus to be held at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC in July. Both of these seminars are sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges.
In addition to several excellent student papers (there were thirty-five all told, from students at nine different schools), attendees also enjoyed a tour of Spelman’s Museum of Fine Art by Mora Beachamp-Byrd, visiting scholar of art and art history at Spelman.
The current exhibit, Black Chronicles II, explores the black presence in late nineteenth century Victorian Britain through studio portraiture, including some thirty portraits of The African Choir, which toured Britain between 1891 and 1893, and a selection of popular cartes-de-visite. (One of these made me smile: a Zulu warrior from “Farini’s Friendly Zulus.” “The Great Farini,” né William Leonard Hunt, hails from my hometown of Port Hope, Ontario. He first gained fame as a tightrope walker and later became an African explorer and entertainment promoter. Shane Peacock’s book about him has more detail.)
The keynote address, entitled “Women and Violence in the Grassroots Anti-Abortion Movement in the United States,” was delivered by Karissa Haugeberg of Tulane University. Based on her forthcoming book, it was a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of 1980s-era pro-life activism and the women who participated in it. (We’ve been conditioned to think of abortion opponents as men trying to keep women down, but according to Haugeberg women have always made up a majority of the movement, often for feminist reasons – widespread abortion, they believe, frees men from their responsibilities to the women they impregnate. This fundamental divide over the significance of the sexual revolution – is it empowering, or degrading? – is still not resolved, as one can see in the debate over hook-up culture on campus today.)
Reinhardt was represented by recent graduate Alex Bryant, whose paper “The New American Revolution: A Brief History of the Internet” sparked quite a bit of discussion afterwards.
This is the seventh PAT annual conference I’ve been to. It is always fun, and this one was one of the best.
“Imperial Women: Khatuns in the Mongol Empire”
On Tuesday, March 1, in Hill Freeman Library, as part of Women’s History month and Anne Good’s Topics in Women’s History class, Dr. Timothy May of the University of North Georgia discussed how the status of women in the Mongol Empire greatly differed from that of women in similar positions in the Confucian, Islamic, and Christian worlds of the Middle Ages. Not only did the Mongol queens serve as advisors and regents, but did so openly and publicly. They were a visible part of the court life and very much enmeshed in the political and commercial life of the empire.
The talk was a great success – Dr. May was as charming and informative as ever.
A joyous occasion this afternoon in Hill Freeman Library as the University celebrated the acquisition of the ceremonial swords of its two founders, Augustus Reinhardt and his brother-in-law John Sharp, who had been officers in the army of the Confederate States of America. These had been in the possession of the Sharp family for four generations; Sharp’s great-granddaughter Sherry Gray of Pennsylvania donated them to Reinhardt University this past summer. Here she is with her cousin Jim Davis (a grandson of Sharp’s and a local resident) presenting the swords to Reinhardt’s president Kina Mallard:
Here is a closeup of the sword hilts. They will be temporarily on display in a glass table in the library, until they can be permanently mounted in a specially built case on the wall.
Here are images of the two original possessors:
These two photos were part of a display put together by Joel Langford, which featured documents from Reinhardt’s early days:
And here is Reinhardt history professor Ken Wheeler in action. The text of his speech for the occasion is reproduced below, courtesy the author.
Brief Remarks on the Lives and Careers of Captain Augustus M. Reinhardt and Lieutenant Colonel John J.A. Sharp
In 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War, Augustus Reinhardt and John Sharp signed up to fight for the Confederate States of America. Augustus, born in 1842, was still a teenager. He stood 5 feet, 6 inches, he was fair complected, with blue eyes and dark hair, and he spent the first year as a private, serving in Virginia, but he became so ill that he was discharged and sent home in December. By March he was able to re-enlist, in a new unit drawn mostly from the Waleska area, and perhaps because he had more experience than the others he was first a lieutenant and soon the captain, leader of a company of 145 men. Presumably this is when he acquired his sword. Reinhardt’s company fought in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and then went to Mississippi. There, in May, 1863, at the Battle of Baker’s Creek, or Champion Hill, east of Vicksburg, Reinhardt’s unit was decimated, and Reinhardt was shot in the knee. He would recover but have a limp for the rest of his life. Evidently he and his men retreated to Vicksburg, where they and thousands of other Confederate soldiers came under siege for a month and a half, and were pretty much starved into submission. The Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, who captured this Confederate army released them, and Reinhardt and his men made their way back to Georgia. It was a discouraging time, and in January, 1864, Reinhardt resigned his commission—quit the Confederate cause. Enlisted men could not resign, but officers could, and Augustus Reinhardt left the army over the year before the war ended. Perhaps his knee never fully healed, but we really don’t know.
John Sharp, born in 1828, was in his early 30s at the outbreak of war, had served as a militia colonel, and he raised a company that he served as captain, and he climbed the ranks to lieutenant colonel as he fought all four years. In addition to a variety of smaller engagements, Sharp saw action in the battle of Seven Pines, at Antietam, at the battle of Fredericksburg. He was captured at the battle of Chancellorsville and held in a prison in Washington, D.C. for twenty days and was then exchanged, after which he saw more Confederate military service from Virginia to Florida before he was shot down and wounded severely while leading a charge in North Carolina at the battle of Bentonville, in March, 1865, just weeks before the war ended. Afterward, he did not romanticize the Confederacy. In 1866, he signed a published letter defending Alexander Stephens. Before secession Stephens told his fellow Georgians not to leave the Union. “The greatest curse,” said Stephens, “that can befall a free people, is civil war.” Sharp and others now recognized Stephens as “the Prophet, who… warned us against the fatal error” of secession and civil war, “which we all now lament and are anxious to correct.”
At war’s end, Reinhardt and Sharp beat their swords into plowshares—well, not literally, but they successfully re-entered civilian life. Reinhardt, still just 23 years old, moved immediately to Atlanta, studied law, and became an attorney. He speculated in real estate, and helped found a trolley company that made his suburban plots of land accessible to people who wanted to live close to the Ponce de Leon Springs but still have quick access to the downtown. In politics, people elected Reinhardt to Atlanta’s Board of Aldermen, which basically ran the city, and he lobbied against alcohol, helped open Grady Memorial Hospital—and in his final year he served as head of the aldermanic board—he was mayor pro tem of the city of Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Sharp stayed in Waleska. He had married in 1859, but his wife died during the war, and in 1868 he married Mary Jane Reinhardt, a sister of Augustus, making the men brothers-in-law. Sharp, like Reinhardt, got into politics and served two terms as a state legislator. Sharp, like Reinhardt, invested in a local gold mine. Sharp, sort of like Reinhardt, opened a real estate business. He ran his Waleska farm and his store. In the mid-1870s he edited a Canton newspaper, the Cherokee Georgian. He, like Reinhardt, was interested in transportation and championed an effort to make the Etowah River navigable from Canton to Rome, Georgia, where it becomes the Coosa River, so steamboats could go all the way from Canton to the Gulf of Mexico. Sharp and Reinhardt partnered on another transportation venture, a proposed railroad, the Kingston, Waleska, and Gainesville Railroad, which would run across northern Georgia. The railroad was never built, but the point here is that Reinhardt and Sharp made big plans to develop northern Georgia and make it prosperous. And, no surprise, Sharp, a former schoolteacher, published editorial after editorial in the Cherokee Georgian promoting education. In “How to Build Up A Town,” he argued that “an enduring prosperity” depended on the combination of “two forces… the moral and the educational… The influence of a flourishing school, liberally supported by a community, penetrates into every walk of life.” “Education,” Sharp concluded, “is the only instrumentality by which permanent improvement can be affected in any human pursuit or acquisition.”
And so in 1883, when Reinhardt came to Waleska and talked to John and Mary Jane about founding a school, they acted at once. Sharp purchased a saw mill, and Reinhardt went to talk to the Methodists (both the Sharp and Reinhardt families were Methodist) about obtaining a teacher, and the school opened the following year. When they applied to the state for a charter, they explained that the school was “for the education of the youth of both sexes in the usual branches of our English and classical education… solely with a view to advancing the educational interests of the County.” The school they founded has flourished, and everyone associated with Reinhardt University today owes a debt of gratitude to Augustus Reinhardt and John Sharp, for their values, their vision, their interest in future generations, their belief in the power of education to elevate and transform lives. It is a pleasure and a privilege today to accept these tangible reminders of who they were.
Congratulations to our 2015 Reinhardt History Program graduates! They are:
Phi Alpha Theta, cum laude
Phi Alpha Theta, summa cum laude, honors program graduate
Arts and Humanities student of the year
Phi Alpha Theta, magna cum laude, history program student of the year
Phi Alpha Theta, cum laude
Phi Alpha Theta, magna cum laude, history program student of the year
I was pleased to attend my first Talon Awards Gala tonight at the Falany Performing Arts Center, because two history major graduates were honored with Reinhardt’s Ten Under Ten Award, an award that recognizes ten graduates who have found success in their chosen fields within their first decade of graduation. The first is Courtney Byrd ’11, who lives in New York City where she is a project manager for Nervewire, a marketing firm that helps companies stay relevant, competitive and successful.
The second is Will Cody ’08, who arrived at Reinhardt when I did back in 2004. The photo shows us at Will’s graduation. Will went on to receive a master’s in international relations at the University of Edinburgh, and has taught at international schools in Thailand and Kenya.
I was pleased that Jefferson Holt ’05 was also honored. Jeff was a business and sports studies major, but was a founding member of Reinhardt’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. He is now a lawyer in Atlanta.
Sean Mulligan ’05, another founding member of Phi Alpha Theta (and one of the smartest students I’ve ever had) was also in attendance.
Congratulations to Matt Amis and Dan Carpenter, History Program students of the year. Congratulations to history major Alex Bryant, Arts and Humanities student of the year, and Reinhardt traditional student of the year!
Congratulations to Dr. Anne Good on organizing another successful Culture Fest. This year’s celebration took place yesterday in the Glass House, and featured exhibits on some forty different countries, music, food, and fashion.