Norbert A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture Series
Thirtieth Annual Norbert. A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture
Introduction to the 2020 Norbert A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture
George Dameron, Professor of History
It is my distinct pleasure as a member of the Department of History to welcome you to the 30th annual Norbert A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture. The Department of History began this lecture series in 1991 to honor the memory of a beloved colleague in the department: Norb Kuntz. At the time of his death at the age of 49 as the result of a sudden illness, Norb was Professor of History, chair of the department, and a veteran of most if not all major faculty committees on campus. A native of the upper Midwest, he received his Ph. D. in American History from Michigan State University. Arriving at Saint Michael’s College in 1969, he was a dedicated and gifted teacher, passionate about history. He was gregarious, affable, and ebullient with student and faculty alike, and his courses—especially his Civil War class—regularly drew 50 to 70 students. In his 18 years as chair of the department (longer than anyone since or ever again), he was programmatically far-sighted and wise. At the time of his death, he was beginning a major research project on medical care for soldiers during the Civil War. Along with another department colleague, Edward Pfeifer, Norbert Kuntz created the American Studies Program. In 1987 he managed to convince the then-dean of the college to authorize a new tenure line in East Asian Studies. During his tenure, he also presided over the growth of the History Department faculty, expanding it by a third. Today there is only one remaining member of the department who was brought into the department by Norb Kuntz. Nevertheless, Norb’s presence is still felt on campus, especially among the many alumni who were his students in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Two of his three children graduated from Saint Michael’s College, and both followed their father into the profession of teaching. His wife, Sue Kuntz, is an emerita member of the Psychology Department and a valued colleague and friend to many of us. And lastly, his presence at Saint Michael’s College is certainly evident here on campus through this annual lecture series.
Introduction to the Fall 2020 Kuntz Lecter
Kathryn Dungy, Department Chair and Professor of History
It is with great honor that I introduce our speaker for the 30th annual Norbert A Kuntz memorial lecture series. Dr. Elise Guyette is a Vermont teacher, historian, and author. Her groundbreaking book “Discovering Black Vermont” treats a subject long neglected in Vermont history by focusing on a network of lives and accomplishments of early African-American citizens. It traces the story of three generations of free blacks trying to build a life and community in in Hinesburg, VT in the years following statehood.
Today’s talk, “The Jagged Edges of Progress,” Dr. Guyette adds new research and insight on the multi-generational Vermont family as members migrate to South Carolina after the Civil War and become embroiled in Reconstruction politics. A subtext for her story is a pattern of progress toward equality in this country constantly being followed by a violent backlash, which sends hopes plunging. Dr. Guyette contends we are still stuck in this historical pattern but can escape it if we acknowledge our history and work to change the pattern.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Elise Guyette.
The Jagged Edges of Progress
Dr. Elise Guyette