The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience has recently undergone a facelift in its leadership by promoting Adam Goodheart, professor of American Studies, to director.
Goodheart said he is "helping to turn Washington College into a kind of 'magnet school' for students interested in American history, politics, and culture, archaeology, historic preservation and similar fields."
The Center, constantly striving to connect American history to the Eastern Shore community and to support various academic opportunities that will garner the college national prominence, will quickly become an epicenter of new and explorative ideas for students of varying interests.
Goodheart is a Philadelphia native and 1992 graduate of Harvard who has received accolades ranging from the Henry Lawson Award for Travel Writing in 2005 to having works published in the prestigious Norton Reader. Working with publications such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and GQ, among others, Goodheart has been a travel essayist, a critic and a historian.
Dovetailing all of these passions, he found himself at the C.V. Starr Center as a visiting fellow. He was hired as a professor and was able to help "launch the Starr Center as a place with a growing national reputation for its innovative approaches to the past," said Goodheart.
His students find Goodheart to be an obvious choice to head the Center. Erin Koster, a senior who had Goodheart in the spring 2005 semester for "Chestertown's America" said, "He really cares for the college and the Center and has some great ideas."
"He's helping to bridge the gap between Washington College and the Chestertown community by matching students with townspeople who can help with their research," said Kaity Edwards, a senior who has already taken two classes with Goodheart in addition to a current fall class dubbed "America Goes to College."
Kees De Mooy, the Center's Program Manager, feels that Goodheart is "building upon the first director, Ted Widmer's, marvelous accomplishment of the first five years and is poised to take the Center to a new level of excellence."
These new "levels" described by De Mooy will be "exploring a variety of potential new partnerships with nationally renowned institutions that could offer some great new opportunities to students and faculty at the College," said Goodheart.
One such program is the George Washington Book Prize Celebration on Sept. 14 and 15. The event is set to be one of the highlights of the year at the College.
In addition to the Book Prize Celebration, Goodheart will be tapping into the history of the college and the nation, from "our colloquies on America history and politics with former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, to weekend road trips exploring historic destinations around the region, to our fellowship programs providing funding for independent research."
"In his first month on the job, he has worked tirelessly to establish relationships with a wide variety of museums, historical societies, and history centers that will complement and enhance the Center's programs," said De Mooy.
With programs, research and travel exposure and a great deal of networking opportunities, Goodheart has come prepared for the long haul in exposing the Center as being a premiere environment to strengthen one's academic career.
"Chestertown and the Washington College community have nourished me as a writer over the past few years, and I hope to turn this place into a home for many other writers and scholars who explore the American past," said Goodheart.
Plans have been set into motion for the 2nd annual George Washington Book Prize commemoration, featuring winning biographer Stacy Schiff.
"This year's event isn't just a lecture; it's a whole celebration," said Adam Goodheart, director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which is co-sponsoring the event. Last year, the event was held on one day and was limited to a lecture. This year, it has been stretched to a two-day event.
Thursday, Sept. 14, will mark the start, with historic re-enactors - both British and American Revolutionary War soldiers - camping out in Martha Washington Square hours before the lecture, which is at 5 p.m. in Tawes Theatre. Goodheart said that they will "encourage students to come by and enlist in whatever army they prefer."
Schiff's book, "A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America," was unique among its competitors, Goodheart said. "Stacy's book is an incredible feat of research. It's very hard to discover anything new about the American Revolution but she was able to do it." Schiff was able to read through secret service and spy files of British secret agents in Paris who spied on Franklin, Goodheart explained.
"She's also a marvelous storyteller," he added.
Revolutionary War fife and drum corps will follow the lecture, as well as a public question and answer session between Schiff and Goodheart, at 10:30 a.m. in the CAC Forum Friday morning.