News@Gettysburg Latest news coverage from Gettysburg College Gettysburg College rankings underscore academic excellence, career, and alumni connections At Gettysburg College, experiential learning opportunities complement rigorous academic standards. Our respected liberal arts curriculum comes to life in the classroom, where our dedicated faculty collaborate with students on innovative research and exploration.

Doing great work in the classroom leads to countless opportunities to make an impact in unlimited career fields, and—thanks to our powerful alumni network—Gettysburgians are integrally connected through our passion and sense of purpose. As a result, pride in our work is on display every day in the classroom, in the workplace, and around the world.

It’s also evident in the recognition we receive from reputable outside organizations. From best alumni network, to best classroom experience, read more about several of our latest national rankings.

U.S. News recognizes College’s teaching excellence, innovation

U.S. News & World Report continues to rank Gettysburg in the top 50 liberal arts colleges nationwide, according to the 2019 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” Gettysburg College was also ranked No. 28 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.”

Princeton Review ranks Gettysburg No. 22 in “Top 25 Colleges for Best Alumni Networks”

The Princeton Review included Gettysburg College in its list of 200 Colleges that Pay You Back, as well as recognizing the power of our alumni and career networks—ranking us No. 22 on the “Top 25 Colleges for Best Alumni Networks” list and No. 25 on the “Top 25 Best Schools for Internships” list.

Other callouts from Princeton Review’s The Best 384 Colleges included rankings on lists such as: Best Athletic Facilities (No. 12), Best Campus Food (No. 13), Best Classroom Experience (No. 15), and Best Science Lab Facilities (No. 17), to name a few. Gettysburg College was also featured in Princeton Review’s book, Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers By Going Beyond the Classroom.

Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education rank Gettysburg No. 37 on “Best Liberal Arts College” list

The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education partnered to create a Higher Education College Ranking, “providing students and institutions with access to a comprehensive list of over 1,000 institutions evaluated on their educational impact.”

Of the more than 1,000 institutions included in the ranking, the College was No. 37 among liberal arts institutions, and No. 100 nationally.

Robust global study programs earn Gettysburg top ranking from Institute for International Education (IIE)

For the fourth year in a row, the College was recognized by the Institution of International Education (IIE). Gettysburg College is now ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania and No. 5 in the entire nation for our mid-length study abroad opportunities.

Named to multiple “Best Value” lists

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best College Values guide ranked the College number 51 out of liberal arts colleges based on criteria that ranged from selectivity and first-year retention rate to financial aid and average student indebtedness upon graduation.

Gettysburg made two of Forbes’s college rankings: “America’s Top Colleges—ROI” (50 among liberal arts schools, 130 nationally) and “Best Value Colleges.” Factors included student’s ratings of professors, post-graduate success, self-reported salary, tuition costs, and graduation rates.

In Time’s Money Magazine’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” 2018 list, the College was ranked 32 among liberal arts schools, and 146 among all colleges and universities across the country.

Gettysburg College salaries trend favorably in 2018 PayScale College Salary Report

In a ranking that examines the self-reported early-career and mid-career salaries of alumni, the latest PayScale College Salary Report ranked the College No. 27 among liberal arts institutions across the country.

From how we teach students to the lifelong connections we foster between alumni, Gettysburg remains a force for good. The latest national rankings confirm what we’ve known since 1832: at Gettysburg, we Do Great Work.

18 works published by faculty in 2018 18 books published by Gettysburg professors in 2018

Professors at Gettysburg College model the sense of curiosity they aim to cultivate in their students. This year, in addition to teaching, mentoring, and conducting research, 18 Gettysburg College professors published major works—including books, music, and audio books—in their respective areas of academic interest.

Read the list below. You can also read the 2018 archive of College authors and the complete archive of books written and edited by faculty.


Marasa Twa: Vodou-Jazz-Merengue

A Trilogy of Music Albums on Round Whirled Records (available at Musselman Library)

Prof. Paul Austerlitz, Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music

In the spiritual traditions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Marasa Twa are magical triplets who manifest divine mysteries.

“The three offerings, Dr. Merengue, Water Prayers, and The Vodou Horn, present jazz fused with music I have studied as an ethnomusicologist,” said Prof. Paul Austerlitz. “I am privileged to have spent my life studying world music cultures. At the same time, I have plunged the depths as a musician and as a seeker of life’s meanings. Wedding my artistic and spiritual paths with scholarly research, these albums are the fruit of my sojourn as a musician-scholar. They focus on my principal instrument, the bass clarinet, and on the music and spirituality of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.”   

Managing Your Research Data and Documentation

Prof. Kathy R. Berenson, Psychology

In this book, Prof. Kathy R. Berenson presents a straightforward approach to managing and documenting data so that other researchers can clearly see exactly what was done and be able to repeat it. Since major research funders now require recipients to meet strict data handling standards, the step-by-step procedures in this book are useful for students pursuing research careers. Beyond this, Berenson said these procedures help psychology students develop more self-efficacy for analyzing data in their research courses and labs.

“A few years ago, when concerns about research replicability in psychology started gaining a lot of attention, I realized that undergraduate and graduate level student researchers rarely receive much formal teaching about working with data in ways that facilitate replicability,” she said. “After looking for already published resources to provide my own students on this topic, I decided I’d need to write them myself.”

The War for the Common Soldier: How Men Thought, Fought, and Survived in Civil War Armies

Prof. Peter Carmichael, Professor of Civil War Era Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute

How did Civil War soldiers endure the brutal and unpredictable existence of army life during the conflict? This question is at the heart of Prof. Peter S. Carmichael’s sweeping new study of men at war. Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind by individual soldiers from both the North and South, Carmichael explores the totality of the Civil War experience. Historian Lorien Foote applauds The War for the Common Soldier, writing that “Carmichael’s deep focus on individual stories brings to life the complexity of the soldier experience better than any existing book in the field.”

“For the last nine years I have used the Gettysburg battlefield as a classroom for my students,” said Carmichael. “The words of the soldiers are extraordinarily rich, and the students made a powerful emotional and intellectual connection to the place. I am indebted to my students for pushing me to see that these men could not be fully understood without digging deep into their interior world. As I wrote The War for the Common Soldier, the memorable battlefield discussions with my students were never far from my mind.”

Deleuze and Derrida: Difference and the Power of the Negative

Prof. Vernon Cisney, Philosophy

This book is the first to explore the philosophical concept of difference in the works of two key thinkers of 20th century French philosophy—Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida. Both Derrida and Deleuze argued that traditional, representational categories of thought were too static to be effective tools for thinking a dynamic world, and hence, both sought to formulate productive conceptions of difference and relation in order to circumvent this problem.

“Deleuze and Derrida considered themselves to be philosophical allies, sharing affinities on most major philosophical points,” said Prof. Vernon Cisney. “Nevertheless, the ways in which they articulated their concepts, as well as the philosophical movements that grew out of their works, were drastically different. I wrote this book in order to make sense of this rift between the two major strains of contemporary French philosophy.”

Moral Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction

Prof. Daniel R. DeNicola, Philosophy

This text presents a comprehensive explication and critique of the major theories that have shaped Western ethics. It traces our various attempts to ground morality—in nature, in religion, in culture, in social contracts, and in aspects of the human person such as reason, emotions, caring, and intuition—and assesses the scope, requirements, and limits of morality.

“Having taught and written about ethics for nearly five decades, I of course developed many of my own ideas about how best to present and evaluate moral theory,” said Prof. Daniel R. DeNicola. “So, when I was invited to write such a text, I accepted quickly. The book benefited by pilot-testing in a class by one of my reviewers.”

The Politics of Water in the Art and Festivals of Medici Florence: From Neptune Fountain to Naumachia

Prof. Felicia Else, Art History

Water remains one of the most vital yet vexing issues of our time and of times past. This book tells the story of one dynasty's struggle with water, to control its flow and manage its representation. In this richly-illustrated, interdisciplinary study, Prof. Felicia Else explores how the Medici Grandukes of 16th-century Florence sought ways to harness the power of Neptune, in works of art and spectacle, in maritime development, and in civic infrastructure.

“This book brings to life marvelous works of art, engineering, and festival, revealing how Medici ambition was tied to the politics of water,” said Else. “Accounts of flooding, poor drainage and aqueduct repairs show that, as in our own day, they also suffered from its ill effects, a case study in water's ever-present role in the history of civilizations.”

From the Baltic to Byzantium: The History of the Vikings

Prof. Christopher Fee, English

The History of the Vikings: From the Baltic to Byzantium aims to separate history from myth by presenting a scholarly overview of Viking history, geography, literature, religion, and culture. This original audiobook explores pivotal events such as the raid on the monastery at Lindisfarne in 739 and the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066, as well as lesser-known curiosities: the etymology of the term “Viking”; the fact that Vikings known as Varangians made up the personal bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor; and the origins of the state now known as Russia.

From the Round Table to the Holy Grail: A Journey with King Arthur

Prof. Christopher Fee, English

What is it about King Arthur that still holds our attention 1,500 years after he first materialized from the murky depths of history and legend? 

This original audiobook traces Arthur’s path across ancient Britain, visiting such iconic sites as Tintagel, Glastonbury, and Stonehenge in search of physical reminders of this legendary king, his court, and a mighty stronghold remembered through the mists of time as “Camelot,” seeking evidence for Arthur across both literary and literal landscapes, from ancient manuscripts to modern day archaeological excavations. This work explores how Arthur has been recast and refashioned for succeeding generations of audiences—first in Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and England, but later across the globe. Like the Knights of the Round Table on their epic quest for the Holy Grail, Prof. Christopher Fee scours recorded history for the true face of the “Once and Future King,” concluding his search for King Arthur by considering the most popular of the countless books and movies dedicated to him, his court, and their adventures.

From the Round Table to the Holy Grail: A Journey with King Arthur investigates the unwavering interest in Arthur across centuries of popular culture, looking behind the façade of all things Arthurian in order to discern the factual basis for the man, the myths, and the legends of King Arthur.

Reconstruction: A Concise History

Prof. Allen C. Guelzo, Civil War Era Studies

Reconstruction: A Concise History creates a simple but elegant portal into the era, striving to lay out with as much clarity as possible the principal issues, events, and personalities. Its most unusual features are its focus on economics and the role of the federal judiciary.

“The period in American history known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) has the misfortune to fall between the two enormous stools of the Civil War and the Gilded Age, with the result that it gets no respect,” said Prof. Allen C. Guelzo. “Reconstruction: A Concise History will make for sobering, more than uplifting, reading; but the Reconstruction years also teem with more connections to our present dilemmas as Americans than almost any other period since.”

Relational Identities and Other-than-Human Agency in Archaeology

Prof. Julia Hendon, Anthropology

This book explores the benefits and consequences of archaeological theorizing on and interpretation of the social agency of nonhumans as relational beings capable of producing change in the world. The volume cross-examines traditional understanding of agency and personhood, presenting a globally diverse set of case studies that cover a range of cultural, geographical, and historical contexts.

The Continuing Quest for Missile Defense: When Lofty Goals Confront Reality

Prof. Peter Pella, Physics

This book provides an introduction to the complexities of missile defense. Through recounting past successes and failures, describing the current systems in place, and exploring what may lie ahead, The Continuing Quest for Missile Defense will explore the technologies involved in this difficult task.

“Two years ago, I was contacted by Morgan & Claypool Publishers, who publish books for the Institute of Physics Concise Physics series, about writing a manuscript for them,” said Prof. Peter Pella. “In truth, I have no idea how they decided to ask me. Since my expertise is on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, I wrote The Midlife Crises of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, published in 2016. A year later, they asked if I was interested in writing another book for the series. Since national missile defense funding and the threat from North Korea were prominent in the news, I decided to study the issue in detail, the result being, The Continuing Quest for Missile Defense, which was published in 2018.”

Immortal Village

—Prof. Kathryn Rhett, English

Immortal Village is a poetry collection about wildness versus domesticity, about desire set against the civilizing structures of myth, marriage, school, and village.

Prof. Kathyrn Rhett said: “These poems illuminate unsettling experiences of knowing—within the confinements of the usual female roles. What changes in a self, and what remains, in the transformation of girl to woman, of woman to wife, or of woman to mythic figure?”

Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain

Prof. Timothy J. Shannon, History

This book tells the story of Peter Williamson, an eighteenth-century Scot who claimed that he was kidnapped from Aberdeen, sold into indentured servitude in Pennsylvania, and then taken captive by Delaware Indians during the French and Indian War. After returning to Britain, he gained fame by writing a narrative of his experiences and performing his story in Indian dress before audiences in taverns and coffeehouses.

“In his lifetime, Williamson had a reputation for being a fabulist, but I was surprised to discover how much of his tale was true. In many respects, this book ended up being a historical detective story, one that proves the old adage that the truth is often stranger than fiction,” Prof. Timothy J. Shannon said.

On the Borders of the Academy: Challenges and Strategies for First-Generation Graduate Students and Faculty

Prof. Alecea Standlee, Sociology

One of the most significant achievements of the U.S. higher education system during the late twentieth century was the increasing access enjoyed by historically marginalized populations. With this achievement, however, has come a growing population of first-generation students, including first-generation graduate students and faculty members, who struggle at times to navigate unfamiliar territory. This book offers insight into the challenges of first-generation status, as well as practical tools for navigating the halls of the academy.

“As a first-generation academic myself, I was inspired to work on this book as a means to provide a vehicle for the voices and experiences of the first-generation community within higher education,” said Prof. Alecea Standlee. “First-generation students, faculty, and graduate students often struggle to be heard in an academic world that relies on the norms and traditions of the middle and upper class educated population. This book brings together voices from the first generations academic world, and in doing so, provides insight and a sense of community to both the current first generation academic and to those who come after us.”

Ancient China and its Eurasian Neighbors: Artifacts, Identity and Death in the Frontier, 3000 - 700 BCE

Prof. Yan Sun, Art and Art History

This volume examines the role of objects in the region north of early dynastic state centers, at the intersection of Ancient China and Eurasia, a large area that stretches from Xinjiang to the China Sea, from c.3000 BCE to the mid-eighth century BCE.

“This area was a frontier, an ambiguous space that lay at the margins of direct political control by the metropolitan states, where local and colonial ideas and practices were reconstructed transculturally,” said Prof. Yan Sun. “These identities were often merged and displayed in material culture. Through close examination of key artifacts, this book untangles the considerable changes in socio-political structure and cultural makeup of the region.”

Marginalized Voices in Music Education

Prof. Brent Talbot, Coordinator of Music Education at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music

The collection of narratives in this book represents only a portion of the diversity that exists within American music education. Our intent is to use the telling of each experience as provocation for discussion on diversity and inclusion in our field; not to define parameters, create a grand narrative of otherness, nor attempt to represent all identity constructions; but instead to reveal patterns of injustice. The result is a book designed to challenge assumptions and to begin conversations in undergraduate and graduate courses in music teacher education. This book is just a beginning and not meant to be a comprehensive collection of marginalization.

“The very impetus for this project began in our classroom, as we attempted to make sense of various events unfolding in the news and to understand more deeply the root causes of systemic violence, marginalization, and privilege,” said Prof. Brent Talbot. “It was in concert with members of our music education program that I first began to understand, implicitly and then more explicitly, the interrelated but never equivalent positionalities from which we speak and from which we view the world.”

No Man an Island: The Cinema of Hou-Hsiao-Hsien

—Prof. James Udden, Cinema and Media Studies

Hou Hsiao-Hsien is arguably the most celebrated Chinese-language film director in the international film festival realm. However, this is not due to an inert cultural tradition so much as to numerous historical/contextual factors—most of all his being from Taiwan. No Man an Island explores the varying achievements of this famous film director.

“This is a revised edition of my first book published back in 2009, largely due to his winning of Best Director at Cannes in 2015,” said Prof. James Udden. “This is about not only Taiwan’s famed director who has won several awards at major festivals, but also Taiwan itself and its peculiar place in the world, and how that is what shaped these films, lending them a special uniqueness.”

Saint Oscar Romero: Priest, Prophet, Martyr

Prof. Emeritus Kerry Walters, Philosophy

This biography offers an inspiring look at St. Oscar’s life, starting in childhood and then tracing his evolution from a conscientious but unremarkable priest to a heroic prophet and—finally—a martyr, gunned down in 1980 while celebrating mass.

Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was martyred in 1977 because of his advocacy for the poor, has been a hero of mine for years,” said Prof. Emeritus Kerry Walters. “So, I was thrilled when I was invited to write a biography of him to coincide with his October 2018 canonization. In researching the book, I was struck as never before by his life trajectory that led him from being a pretty conventional Roman Catholic priest to someone who put his life on the line to denounce crimes against God and persons.”

Top 2018 highlights from Gettysburg College The end of another year is upon us. With it comes the opportunity to reflect on our collective moments of growth and triumph, of celebration and wonder, and, most important, the defining highlights that make us all proud to be Gettysburgians.

Watch the video to relive some of our top highlights from 2018. Did we forget one of your favorites? Be sure to share your top Gettysburg College moments on social media using #gettysburgreat.

You can also contribute your year-end gift to Gettysburg College online.

Biology Prof. Alex Trillo's research attracts international attention Tropical rainforest frogs in Central America may provide the latest evidence of a changing planet, according to a new paper co-authored by Biology Prof. Alex Trillo. The study is receiving worldwide media attention, and was featured on the PBS Newshour and in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper as well as The Atlantic, among others.

The Study

Thirty years from now, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, according to the United Nations. Trillo, as part of a larger team at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, says that has serious implications for nature. As human settlements expand into previously forested areas, wild animals must either adapt to live among us or be displaced.

Living in urban areas, however, can have major effects on the biology of these animals. Evidence of this can be seen in the mating habits of frogs in Panama. Writing in Nature Ecology and Evolution, Trillo and fellow researchers zero in on the sounds male Túngara frogs make to attract females. Their work suggests frogs more accustomed to urban environments can adjust their calls in response to reduced risks of predation or parasitism in the city, ultimately making their calls more attractive. Frogs from the rainforest, on the other hand, lack this ability.

A Corothrella midge parasitizing on a male frog

The Take-Home Message

“Our study shows that urban life can affect animals in ways that aren’t immediately obvious. Previous studies have shown that light pollution and noise can impact how animals communicate, but this study shows that cities can alter predator and parasite communities, allowing frogs to call in ways that are more appealing to mates,” Trillo said.

This innovative research underscores Gettysburg’s collaborative approach to the sciences. Trillo’s partnership for this project included faculty from Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, Purdue University, the University of Texas, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the University of New York at Abu Dhabi. Funds were provided by a Marie Curie grant, a Veni grant, Holland’s Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Celebrating 2018 midyear graduates Continuing a Gettysburg tradition, College leaders Dec. 12 honored nearly 50 students for their perseverance in completing degree requirements midyear.

President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77, in remarks at her final Midyear Graduation Recognition Ceremony before retirement, called on graduates to be problem solvers in a challenging world. Her charge to students: act with courage and integrity. She urged them to carry their Gettysburg experience forward and do great work as ethical leaders at home and abroad.

“Gettysburg College has prepared you to make a difference,” Riggs said. “In this chaotic time, it can be easy to lose ourselves in a sense of self-importance, in a race to the top. Instead of stepping over others, I encourage you to lift others up, to help them realize the promise that is within them, to engage with others in helping to make this world a better place.”

Alan Perry

Italian Studies Prof. Alan Perry spoke on behalf of the faculty. He reflected on graduation as a “rite of passage.” And he drew parallels between the students’ achievements and 14th century Italian poet Dante’s quest for enlightenment, in which Dante is crowned “lord” of himself – “upright, wholesome and free…”

“I’d like to think that this evening we too as an institution now crown you all as lords of yourselves so that you may go forth and embrace the same mission,” Perry said. “Like Dante, you have done the hard work. You have sharpened your wits to engage problems that you might not even now foresee, and you have gained insight and experience in knowing how to work with others to resolve them.”

The annual Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony honors students who have completed degree requirements in August 2018 or are expected to complete their degrees in December 2018. The event concluded with a reception for students and guests.

Watch the livestream of the ceremony.

All midyear graduates are invited to participate in May’s Commencement Weekend, where Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli ’63 is set to deliver the keynote address.

View photos on Flickr.

Ben Tabor ’13 on making connections at home and abroad The air was electric in the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom in Parsippany, New Jersey. Democrat Mikie Sherrill—a former Navy pilot, ex-prosecutor, and mother of four—had just won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in a district held by Republicans for the last 30 years. It was a massive upset and Ben Tabor ’13 had a front-row seat.

“Our district was the biggest swing of all the districts in the country at +32 percent,” said Tabor, who volunteered full-time on Sherrill’s campaign. She won by 13 percent.

Tabor was inspired by Sherrill’s run. A true Gettysburgian, he didn’t sit on the sidelines and watch, but took action. He saw an opportunity to grow through hands-on experience, challenge his own assumptions through interactions with constituents, and be a part of the change he wished to see in the world.

That drive to make change through a political campaign was seeded while a student at Gettysburg College. Tabor was inspired by a trip taken to Washington, D.C., in his junior year through an Eisenhower Institute semester-long program. “We met with a campaign consultant, and I knew immediately that working on a campaign was something I wanted to do one day,” said Tabor.

That day became the lead-up to the midterm elections of 2018. Tabor worked across all areas of the Sherrill campaign, including in fundraising, phone banking, research, policy, and ultimately, doing constituency work with veterans and unions. He also knocked on a lot of doors.

Ben Tabor ’13 visits government counterparts in Hail, Saudi Arabia, for the city’s annual off-road rally in the desert

Tabor said working on the campaign re-emphasized for him the value and importance of talking to people face-to-face. “We’ve kind of lost that,” he said, commenting on the American political divide. “People will sit in their houses all day watching MSNBC or Fox News and get all fired up, and yet they haven't had a conversation with an actual person.”

Canvassing for Sherrill, Tabor had the opportunity to meet people he wouldn’t have otherwise. Sometimes, they didn’t agree. However, Tabor says, he could always find common ground and connect across disagreements, particularly when talking about his candidate.

“Sherrill is a veteran, a prosecutor, a mom. She used to ride a motorcycle. She’s got so many levels from which to connect with people,” explained Tabor. “When I knock on her behalf, I may meet a veteran who doesn’t agree with her political stances, but we can talk about the value of military service to this country. Sometimes, connecting with people is as simple as that. Listen. Empathize.” Through concerns about healthcare, the Kavanaugh nomination, the economy, and a breadth of other issues, Tabor says he “broke barriers,” busted stereotypes, and made real connections.

Tabor learned the art and power of connecting with people across lines of difference while taking part in Gettysburg College’s global study, language-immersion program in Paris (read more about that program) and working abroad for five years in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kenya.

While in Tunisia, the site of the awakening of the Arab Spring in 2010, Tabor learned about the value of the youth uprisings and why revolutions occur and vary across regions. The Arab Spring would officially spread to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. Yet Tabor believes Saudi Arabia is “the untold story of the Arab Spring.” Unlike the other countries where the youth revolted, “the Saudi government brought the revolution to the people,” he said.

At the home of Ben Tabor’s ’13 Saudi client for the breaking of the fast, Iftar dinner, during the holy month of RamadanBen Tabor ’13 visits government counterparts in Hail, Saudi Arabia, for the city’s annual off-road rally in the desert

In the wake of widespread transformation across the region, Saudi Arabia began moving towards progressive changes domestically and enlisted an army of international consultants to help. After a brief time working with NGOs in Tunisia, Tabor began working for Numu Consulting, commuting by plane from Tunisia (and later, Dubai) to Saudi Arabia to become a part of this historic moment.

Tabor initially focused on youth unemployment issues and then transitioned to work on macro-economic reforms. Specifically, he worked on energy subsidy reform, which Tabor calls “one of the largest economic reforms that Saudi Arabia has passed in the last 50 years,” with an expected savings of $30 billion by 2020. Tabor had to quickly understand the geopolitics and nuances of the region, as well as connect with diverse peoples, in order to be taken seriously. He met with hundreds of Saudis ranging in position—from minister, governor, and prince, to student, Uber driver, and the unemployed.

“No matter how remote or far away from home I traveled—and I worked in very remote areas in the Saudi Kingdom—I was able to find ways to connect with people, no matter how different,” said Tabor when talking about his time in the Middle East. “For example, people universally care about their family, access to healthcare, job opportunities. So, whether it be the Saudi Uber driver or my work colleagues from the Middle East or Europe, I could connect through those similarities right away.”

At the home of Ben Tabor’s ’13 Saudi client for the breaking of the fast, Iftar dinner, during the holy month of RamadanAt the home of Ben Tabor’s ’13 Saudi client for the breaking of the fast, Iftar dinner, during the holy month of Ramadan

That ability to break down barriers and connect, cultivated at Gettysburg College and honed abroad, prepared Tabor well for his role in the Mikie Sherrill congressional win.

Tabor credits Gettysburg College for providing him with the opportunities and support to broaden his horizons, explore the world, and realize his passions.

“At Gettysburg, there are endless amounts of opportunity,” he said. “I was encouraged to complete an independent study on youth unemployment. I studied abroad, received funding, and was exposed to campaigning all because of Gettysburg College. I’m so appreciative of the one-on-one attention I received to reach my goals.”

What can you do with a music degree? Gettysburg College inspires students to pursue their passions, without limits. Whether you want to study music and music alone, or combine your study with other academic pursuits, our Sunderman Conservatory of Music offers you this freedom.

At Sunderman, you have the opportunity to choose between three distinctive degree programs—Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Music Performance, or Bachelor of Music Education, in addition to a music minor—to help you build a strong musical foundation through performance, music theory, music history, and world music.

Our music students benefit from the best of both worlds: a music conservatory rooted in the liberal arts. Our graduates go on to enter a variety of fields—from composing music for our favorite movies and TV shows to teaching the next generation of aspiring young musicians.

Take a look at how Gettysburg’s recent music graduates are using their music degrees.

Allison Geatches Cantor ’09

Film and television music composer

“My passion for composing began when I started playing piano at age 4, and I composed my first piece at 5. My parents aren’t particularly musical, it’s just something that I’ve always loved. At age 11, I realized that composing music could be a career.

 “At Gettysburg College, I participated in concert choir, college choir, camerata, and other musical ensembles. The Sunderman faculty, such as Profs. Buzz Jones and Jocelyn Swigger, encouraged me to seek out my love for composing—and they taught me a lot of life lessons, including how to practice, how to learn, and of course, time management.

“One thing that made the Sunderman Conservatory so special was having constant access to learning and growing musicians. As a developing composer, I could always ask, ‘Hey, can you play this on the French horn? I want to hear how it sounds.’ Sunderman students are all super helpful and so excited about what they do. I had 30 to 40 people involved in my senior recital alone—it was just incredible.”

Read more about Allison Geatches Cantor ’09.

Kate Anderson ’09

Television and musical theatre songwriter

“My Gettysburg experience showed me what it is to have a life that is busy and fulfilling and happy. It sounds obvious, but I think it’s actually harder to find that kind of balance than you would think.

“When I graduated, I felt an enormous void where all that fulfillment used to be. It drove me to seek it out in my professional life. I found the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater writing workshop and started to feel the old familiar feelings of fulfillment and joy return. I became more and more passionate about songwriting, and more and more driven to make that my career.

“I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do. I’m very excited to keep working in this area, especially for Disney. Working in LA, writing songs, receiving feedback from the Disney-Pixar Braintrust—it’s just been amazing.

“I will never forget my voice teacher, Prof. Kathleen Sasnett, asking me what I wanted to do after college. She said, ‘If you’re not going to pursue this, then what are you doing?’ It made me really think about what direction I wanted to go in. I loved comedy and writing. I wrote parodies throughout my time at Gettysburg, and I eventually chose to do a creative writing minor. It all led perfectly towards a career as a songwriter and playwright.”

Read more about Kate Anderson ’09.

Alice Broadway ’14

Elementary School Music Teacher at Mechanicsburg Area School District

“I entered Gettysburg with an intent to participate in music, but not major in it. I quickly found myself taking advantage of the liberal arts setting and all the ensembles and programs available to all students. It did not take long for me to realize that my then-deemed ‘hobby’ of music was truly my passion; I was enjoying playing music more than anything else.

“Through teaching small groups in music rehearsals during marching band, I realized I wanted to not just play music—I wanted to teach it. The music education major at Gettysburg College was the best college decision I made to help me continue learning and sharing my passion of music and music education with many more kids. Gettysburg College prepared me for teaching a wide variety of music classes and provided me with an adaptable skill set and supportive educator network to be able to find success teaching children anywhere I ended up working.

“Being an elementary music teacher allows me to inspire and be inspired by young musicians on a daily basis. Their enthusiasm for learning and exploring music in their lives is contagious.”

Read more about Alice Broadway ’14.

David Dalton ’15

External relations manager at Washington Performing Arts

“I found my niche in music during high school, but attended Gettysburg College to expand my musical opportunities. At Gettysburg, I participated in wind symphony, jazz ensemble, marching band, symphony orchestra, and brass quintet. I also got the chance to go on tour to China, Singapore, Nicaragua, Turkey, Italy, and France with these ensembles.

“During my senior year, I worked on band staff for Prof. Russell McCutcheon, and I very much enjoyed the responsibilities of that job. I remember toward the end of that year, I made a joke about working on band staff forever, and that was the first time I actually thought to do a search to see if there were other ensembles that I could serve in this capacity. Six months later, I was on staff at the Eastman School of Music supporting five of their large ensembles. They had an opening for someone who was well-versed in a wide variety of musical repertoire (orchestra, band, jazz, choir), knew what these ensembles needed to succeed, and had a passion for the intricacies of the behind-the-scenes work. My experiences at Gettysburg set me up well for my current position."

Heather McConnell ’17

Teaching assistant in music at Temple University

“I was passionate about pursuing a music degree long before I arrived at Gettysburg College. At Gettysburg, I was part of the opera workshop every year and performed on the weekly informal recital. I was also a peer learning associate (PLA) for music history and an office assistant for the voice and opera department.

“Without a doubt, the amazing faculty at Gettysburg, particularly Profs. Jeffrey Fahnestock, Marta Robertson, Scott Crowne, and Susan Hochmiller, guided me every step of the way, and they are still amazing resources even after my graduation. My study abroad experience in Vienna was also one-of-a-kind, shaping me both as a singer and a person.

“This year, while pursuing my master’s in voice performance, I am working as the office assistant for the voice/opera department coordinator at Temple University. I also teach private voice lessons to music therapy, music education, and theatre majors.”

Read more about Heather McConnell ’17

2019 Commencement speaker is author Jerry Spinelli ’63 Jerry Spinelli ’63 will speak on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at Gettysburg College’s 184th Commencement ceremony.

The 11 a.m. ceremony will take place—rain or shine—on Beachem Portico on the north side of Pennsylvania Hall.

Daisy Sullivan ’19 recommended Spinelli’s name as speaker after rereading her favorite book, Crash, by the author this summer: “The book has such a strong message that I believe is important for people of all ages to hear,” she said. “I’m so excited to learn that he will be our speaker because our generation grew up reading his books. They reflect a type of wisdom that my peers and I could really benefit from as we gear up to enter the ‘real world.’”

About the speaker:

One day in second grade Jerry Spinelli dressed up in his cowboy outfit, complete with golden cap pistols and spurs on his boots. He went to school that way. It was not Halloween. When the teacher asked if he "would like to do something for the class," he got up and sang "I Have the Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle."

Shortly thereafter he ceased to be a singing cowboy and decided to become a baseball player. In eleventh grade he wrote a poem about a high school football game. It was published in the local (Norristown, PA) newspaper. He traded in his baseball bat for a pencil and became a writer.

The story of his life to that point is told in his memoir Knots in My Yo-Yo String. His sixth novel, Maniac Magee, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1991 for "The Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children." His eighteenth book, Wringer, received a Newbery Honor. Stargirl will be a Disney film on the company's new streaming platform, expected to launch in late 2019.

Jerry Spinelli's books appear in more than 40 languages. Anti-apartheid forces in South Africa recruited Maniac Magee to their cause. Loser travels through rural Japan as a stage play. There are Stargirl Societies around the world.

Jerry Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow author, Eileen, in Media, Pennsylvania. They have six children and thirty-six grand- and great-grandchildren. And counting.

He received an honorary degree from Gettysburg College in 2005.

For more information about Commencement, please refer to the Commencement website. It will be updated frequently as Commencement weekend approaches.

Succeeding in STEM Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates are in high demand. However, these fields of study continue to struggle to retain almost half of the students who major in them, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The challenge for students who come from underrepresented backgrounds is even greater.

At Gettysburg College, we strive to create purposeful educational pathways that are designed with the supports, mentorship, and academic experiences needed to help students succeed.

Our Gettysburg College STEM Scholars Programs is uniquely designed to recruit, support, and retain STEM students who are academically promising, first-generation, and/or an underrepresented minority. The program, which was created with the help of a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, now has 32 members from three cohorts on campus.

Read about three of these remarkable students who used the STEM Scholars Program as a springboard to realize their academic and research goals within a peer cohort of support.


Major: Computer science

Minor: Math

“I think a lot of young people who don’t have parents who went to college lack a certain confidence. Honestly, if it weren’t for the STEM Scholars Program, I probably wouldn't have gone to a four-year college."

Ricardo Hernandez ’21 grew up with Gettysburg College in his backyard, yet he never visited or gave it much of a thought. “I think that happens a lot when you grow up in a college town,” said Hernandez. “You kind of forget to see something great because it’s so close.”

It was only at the suggestion of a friend that Hernandez decided to give Gettysburg a real look. When he toured the campus, it felt right. “I was impressed,” he explained. “I particularly enjoyed talking to the professors. It just seemed like they really cared about me.”

Even so, Hernandez wasn’t convinced that a four-year college was for him. As a first-generation student and a self-described introvert, he didn’t feel prepared. He was scared. But Hernandez said the program provided a critical support group that helped him navigate new experiences and challenges, as well as a peer cohort with similar interests and backgrounds.

Now a sophomore and computer science major, you can find Hernandez leading his own Gettysburg campus tours without a trace of shyness. In fact, he’s adamant about finding a career in computer science that allows him to regularly interact with people. “I’m definitely more confident,” he said with a laugh.


Major: Chemistry

“The STEM Scholars Program gave me the support group I needed to succeed as a first-generation student. I’ve not only had direct interactions with several faculty members on campus, but I’ve also gained a group of lifelong friends within my cohort.”

When Shelby Nicolau ’20 was considering which college to attend, the STEM Scholars Program at Gettysburg College was a deciding factor. The program’s support and financial assistance gave Nicolau the confidence she needed to matriculate as a first-generation college student at an institution with a strong academic reputation. “The program is a tremendous resource that gives first-generation and minority students an equal opportunity to succeed in college,” she said.

At Gettysburg, Nicolau was exposed to hands-on STEM research early through a freshman course called Phage Hunters, in which students become research scientists hunting phage (a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria and archaea). She also later became a member of the nanolab that explores the surface chemistry of gold nanoparticles.

Now a junior, Nicolau has taken part in multiple research opportunities and internships, strengthening her love for STEM. During her first summer at Gettysburg College, Nicolau completed an internship with Penn State’s Fruit Research and Extension Center, where she was able to continue working on phage therapy. After that summer, she shifted her focus to chemistry and continues to work in the nanolab with her advisor Chemistry Prof. Lucas Thompson, whom she credits with keeping her solidly connected to the college and her major. She is currently working on research in materials chemistry.


Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology

“The STEM Scholars Program ensures that students know they can succeed in majors that are famous for being notoriously difficult.”

While other colleges treated Alexander Paredes ’20 like a number, Gettysburg College made him feel seen—and wanted—from the moment he arrived on campus. Finding the right place was exciting, but that enthusiasm was tempered by the price tag.

“For the longest time, college wasn't really a thought for me. It was never anywhere near affordable,” said Paredes.

An invitation to the STEM Scholars Program changed that. “Through the STEM Scholars Program and its financial support, college became a real opportunity for me,” he explained.

Once Paredes was officially a student, he found encouragement and comraderies in his STEM Scholars cohort. They, and his own successes in the classroom, reinforced again and again that he could flourish academically and within the sciences.

“The STEM Scholars Program creates an environment that supports collaborative success,” said Paredes when reflecting on the power of the cohort. “I’ve often faced times when I felt unable to grasp a certain topic in a class, but I was able to reach out to another member in my cohort and receive help—and I was able to do the same for them.”

Now in his junior year, Paredes’s research resume is impressive. For a semester, he worked with Biology Prof. Véronique Delesalle on genomic annotations, which is the process of identifying the locations of genes and the coding regions in a genome and determining what those genes do. Additionally, since his freshman year, Paredes has been conducting bioinorganic research with his adviser, Chemistry Prof. Katherine Buettner. With Buettner, Paredes has been investigating ways to prevent metals from becoming unstable when they interact with water.

Paredes plans to become a doctor. He encourages others with big dreams in the sciences to explore the STEM Scholars Program.

“The program ensures that students know they can succeed in majors that are famous for being notoriously difficult. It teaches you that there are no boundaries,” he said.

Winnie Wang ’18: Committed to fighting homelessness in San Francisco Winnie Wang ’18 has always been dedicated to social justice. At Gettysburg College, Wang forged a path that allowed her to immerse herself in the issues of homelessness immediately after graduation.

Hailing from San Francisco, California, the transition to Gettysburg was an enormous one for Wang. However, the community and opportunities she witnessed while visiting campus during Get Acquainted Day drew her to the institution and ultimately shaped her four years here.

“I remember sitting in on a political theory class and thinking that the structure of the class and the content was what I wanted in college,” Wang said. “During my first semester at Gettysburg, I actually enrolled in the course and the professor still remembered who I was simply from my visit a few months prior.”

At Gettysburg College, professors are dedicated to their students, and they recognize that college life can be challenging. Wang’s professors cared about her as a student and as an individual, and that meant a lot, especially being 2,579 miles from home.

Once settled on campus, Wang joined the Eisenhower Institute, a distinctive program that provides connections to global experts who lead undergraduate programs, helps students translate theory into practice, and allows them to build a professional network. She participated in three Eisenhower Institute Programs—Women in Leadership, Inside the Middle East (the Institute now offers a similar program, Contours of the Middle East and North Africa), and the Undergraduate Fellowship.

“I think outside of just the contextual knowledge I gained from each program, they also taught me life skills—how to ask the right questions and engage with people who are well-established experts in their careers,” she said. “These are networking skills that aren’t taught in the classroom, but rather through experience.”

With an office located steps from the White House in Washington, D.C., the Eisenhower Institute allows students to immerse themselves in national and global affairs. “Being that the Eisenhower Institute is a distinctive program only offered at Gettysburg College, the public policy exposure is something I see to be extremely valuable,” she said. 

Wang’s participation in the Eisenhower Institute allowed her to travel extensively throughout her time at Gettysburg College. She mentioned her trips to Israel, France, and the United Kingdom. “I truly got to be a global learner,” she said.

Connecting her academic knowledge with global awareness allowed Wang to think critically about a variety of social issues. During her final semester, she centered her philosophy thesis around corporate social responsibility. Using a case study of the San Francisco Bay Area, she analyzed patterns of homelessness in one of the most vulnerable populations within her home community.

“It’s odd to think about how a few months ago I was writing about housing and homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area and today I’m working within an organization whose mission is to combat just this,” Wang said. “To jumpstart my career in the city that has shaped much of who I am is priceless.”

After graduating from Gettysburg in 2018, Wang returned to San Francisco where she is currently working as a program associate within the learning and evaluation department at the Community Housing Partnership, an outcomes-focused nonprofit that aims to help individuals experiencing homelessness secure housing and become independent.

“My role is data-focused, so I contribute in creating a number of evaluation tools that gauge and help our residents in becoming more self-sufficient,” Wang said. “My job is exciting in that I’m contributing to a cause that quite literally changes people’s lives.”

Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, Wang’s experience at Gettysburg provided her a cultural and social shift that was very different to how she grew up. “My time at Gettysburg, even as a first-year student, taught me how to navigate spaces that are not partial to me, and it also taught me to form relationships with those who are very different from myself,” she said. “This is something I find invaluable.”

Computer science majors augment historic exploration through virtual reality projects At Gettysburg College, two computer science majors are reimagining how Gettysburg tourists experience Lincoln Cemetery, as well as Pennsylvania Hall on campus. Through the College’s Digital Technology Summer Fellows Program, Orrin Wilson ’20 and Just Hoang Anh ’21 developed cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) tours that empower inquiring minds to explore the historic sites from the comfort of their own homes.

Within Gettysburg’s Innovation Lab—a campus space designed for the exploration of bold, technological ideas—Wilson and Anh had access to leading software tools, such as Blender and Unity Pro, in addition to two College-owned DJI Mavic Pro drones.

computer science department students Orrin Wilson ’20 and Just Hoang Anh ’21

Wilson, a member of the Bullets track team and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, focused his design efforts on the color, texture, and lighting of Gettysburg College’s iconic campus landmark, Pennsylvania Hall, which served as a field hospital for hundreds of Union and Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg.

“I used Blender for texturing and creating the details in the models. Unity Pro was used to create things in the world and in the model, like lighting, wind, sound, and terrain,” Wilson said.

At Gettysburg College, students are encouraged to pursue academic interests with open minds and to be unafraid to follow their curiosity down unexpected paths. Originally a biology major, Wilson discovered a passion for computer science through his coursework.

“I had taken a computer science class in high school, so I thought I’d try it out again at Gettysburg,” he said. “Now it’s become a great part of my life and a potential future career.

Anh dedicated his VR tour to Lincoln Cemetery, the burial site of Gettysburg’s African American citizens and veterans during the Civil War era.

computer science department students Orrin Wilson ’20 and Just Hoang Anh ’21

Segregated even in death, more than 30 members of the U.S. Colored Troops were laid to rest on the plot, having been denied burial in Soldiers’ National Cemetery—the location of President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address 155 years ago.

“With this project, I sought to bring back the importance of the past and its forgotten history, while utilizing technology of the future,” said Anh, an international student from Vietnam, and president of the Vietnamese Student Association on campus.

“There are so many international students like myself who are not able to feasibly make a trip to Gettysburg. This gives them the opportunity to see Lincoln Cemetery firsthand and feel what it is like to be here,” he said.

Anh’s tour consisted of two different models, enabling viewers to teleport back and forth from each. “I used tools such as ZBrush, which adds roughness to the tombstones, and Substance Painter to add texture and lightning to the tombstones,” said Ahn. “These tools add a realistic touch to the 3D models, which allows the users to immerse themselves in the virtual reality.”

computer science department students Orrin Wilson ’20 and Just Hoang Anh ’21

Both students emphasized the guidance and encouragement they received throughout the Fellowship, most notably from their mentor Eric Remy, director of educational technology. Remy helped the students broaden their original project ideas, gain an understanding of the Innovation Lab’s VR tools, and prepare for a public presentation to campus community members.

“Even if you are not a computer science major, Gettysburg gives you a great opportunity to find your passion and revolutionize,” said Wilson. “In our Innovation Lab, you can create any project. It has been a very rewarding experience.”

VIDEO: Celebrating tradition with Servo Thanksgiving 2018 A fork or a spoon?

With what utensil do you use to eat mashed potatoes? For the majority of our students, it’s a fork. For our other students, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re eating Servo’s annual Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

At Gettysburg College, our annual traditions elevate the pride we feel in our community, and the importance of coming together to reflect on our shared values.

Waiting in line outside for hours for the delicious turkey dinner, students reflected on things that they were thankful for—family, friends, professors, and JMR. Check out the video to find out more about what our students are thankful for or watch it on Youtube. View photos from the event on Flickr.

Tyler Mitchell ’20 creates potentially revolutionary medical device in Gettysburg Innovation Lab At Gettysburg College, innovation occurs when a student’s academic pursuits and personal passions collide. Just take Tyler Mitchell ’20, a computer science major who is leveraging 3D printing technology on campus to aid those with Type 1 diabetes.

“I’ve lived with diabetes all my life, and realize the limitations it can have on you every single day,” said Mitchell. “My goal is to make the quality of life better—to make life normal—for those living through a similar experience as me.”

Through the College’s Digital Technology Summer Fellows Program, Mitchell invested months of hands-on experimentation to develop a potentially revolutionary medical device—an affordable, closed-loop insulin pump for diabetics.

Created in Gettysburg’s Innovation Lab—a campus space designed for the exploration of bold, technological ideas—the insulin pump operates entirely from reading blood sugars that continuously move through a glucose monitor. With access to the College’s 3D printer, Mitchell manufactured the necessary components for the pump, such as the casing and the gears responsible for administering the insulin.

Tyler Mitchell“The pump can’t be connected to anyone yet, but the way things measure on it demonstrates that it works. It definitely feels good to be one step closer to making a difference,” he said.

While Mitchell takes great pride in his closed-loop design, which controls a complex path of blood sugar data, the technology’s promise lies in its cost savings for patients.

The beauty of 3D printing is that it does not require industrial-sized equipment, which dramatically lowers manufacturing costs on a per-unit basis. Mitchell’s closed-loop insulin pump costs roughly $800 to produce—that’s a staggering $9,200 less than the inflated sticker price of a hybrid closed-loop pump on the market today.

When factoring that 1.25 million Americans currently live with Type 1 diabetes—according to the American Diabetes Association—Mitchell’s groundbreaking work at Gettysburg College could be life-altering for diabetics across the nation and around the world.

“This project would not have been attainable or nearly as successful without access to specific courses at Gettysburg and the support of my mentors,” said Mitchell, citing the guidance of Eric Remy, director of educational technology, and Rod Tosten, vice president of information technology.

“Dr. Remy and Dr. Tosten would always answer my questions without hesitation, especially when it came to the physical components of the project, which I needed help with. I also received help from every professor in the computer science department. They inspired ideas on how to make [the pump] even better, and I’m currently implementing some of those ideas. To this day, they’re still guiding me through this process.”

Tyler MitchellRecently, Mitchell was recognized through a Facebook post by Charles Riley—a member of the College Diabetes Network—for his advancements in biotechnology for Type 1 diabetes.

To Mitchell, the acknowledgement signified the tremendous progress he’s made—and the unfinished work still before him.

“At Gettysburg College, I was given the freedom to build whatever I wanted through my summer fellowship—and it seems to be paying off,” he said. “My hope is that this project will have a real-world impact on those suffering with diabetes, and that I can truly help those individuals in a meaningful way.”

College honors 14 Gettysburgians who made ultimate sacrifice during Vietnam era Vietnam Memorial Dedication Ceremony

On Veterans Day Weekend, Gettysburg College dedicated a Vietnam Memorial in honor of 13 alumni and one staff member who died while serving in the armed forces of the United States during the 1966-1973 period of the Vietnam War.

Gettysburgians recognized in the ceremony included Ronald Thomson ’60, Edgar Burchell ’62, Joseph Murphy ’63, John Colestock, James Ewing ’65, Andrew Muns ’65, George Callan ’66, Robert Morris ’66, Charles Richardson ’66, J. Andrew Marsh ’67, Stephen Warner ’68, Daniel Whipps ’69, and Stephen Doane ’70, in addition to ROTC instructor Millard Valerius.

Today, their legacies are now immortalized on the Gettysburg College campus—each name etched into the black granite memorial embedded in the exterior of the College Union Building.

Vietnam Memorial Dedication Ceremony

“The location for this memorial is deliberate. Every day, hundreds of Gettysburg students walk across this patio and enter this building. It is a place of fellowship, a place of community,” said President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 in her dedication remarks.

“Going into the future, our students will look up at this memorial and read the names of these 14 Gettysburgians, 13 of whom were students very much like themselves—going to class, studying in the library, hanging out with best friends and girlfriends, participating in clubs and organizations—individuals who had dreams for the future. As a Gettysburg College family, may we never forget these 14 Gettysburgians, who continue to walk with so many of us in spirit and in our warm memories.”

Black Hawk on Memorial Field

“We mark not only deaths but also legacies, never forgetting that we are still linked to and informed by the character, liveliness, love, and accomplishments of these 14 men,” added Sue Colestock Hill ’67, who helped to spearhead and fund the memorial with a group of devoted alumni.

In addition to the Vietnam Memorial Dedication, attendees from across the state and around the nation experienced a variety of other events, including a panel discussion moderated by History Prof. Michael Birkner ’72, Musselman Library exhibits and reminiscences, and the landing of a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter on Memorial Field.

To learn more about the Vietnam War era and its impact on Gettysburg College, read the cover story from the spring issue of the Gettysburg Magazine, Complex Memories, and explore Musselman Library’s Vietnam Memorial Project.

View photos from our Vietnam Memorial Dedication weekend.

Battlefield as teacher Mere steps from Gettysburg College, the Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP) is fertile ground for history scholars. But, its role as a living laboratory for disciplines beyond history may be surprising.

Learning through observation and experience is a core tenet of a Gettysburg College liberal arts education. The GNMP provides students and faculty personal, hands-on connections to learning and research in history— as well as science and the arts.

A scientific connection

Did you know the battlefield is a prime site for studying geology of the Mesozoic Era? Or that the stones on the bridge near Big Round Top are embedded with dinosaur prints? Many students at Gettysburg College are intimately aware of these facts from their fieldwork in geology, ecology, and environmental sciences.

“Ecology is the study of interactions between species and their environment, but even the most basic concepts can seem rather arcane until students are able to witness them in the field,” said environmental studies Prof. Andrew Wilson, who uses the park in his Principles of Ecology and Environmental Science and Society classes. “Students are generally quite naïve to just how much wildlife there is right on their doorstep.”

The chatter of Wilson’s Principles of Ecology class can be overheard by the students in environmental studies Prof. Sarah M. Principato’s Earth System Science class, as their fieldwork often overlaps.

Principato’s students learn about the geologic history of the area, then study how the different rock types make up the topography of the battlefield and how they influenced the Battle of Gettysburg. From the vantage points of Seminary Ridge, Devil’s Den, and the Overlook Tower, students learn about the geology of the area long before the Civil War: when dinosaurs roamed the earth and when Pangaea began to break apart into the continents.

“My students can see that the layers of rock are mostly at an angle, signaling that there has been tectonic activity. That’s a real ‘aha’ moment for them, like, ‘Oh, wow, the earth was moving!’”

The landscape as teacher

For history and social science scholars, the landscape of the battlefield provides different lessons. Civil War Era Studies Prof. Peter Carmichael, director of the Civil War Institute (CWI), brings his students to the battlefield to read the letters and journals of the soldiers— on the grounds on which they felt, fought, and often perished in 1863.

“These moments on the battlefield are powerful for students, who can feel the presence of the past, whether it is at an obscure grave site at Culp’s Hill or at a more popular tourist haunt like Little Round Top,” Carmichael said. “They discover that the words of a single soldier offer a pinhole through which to explore the broader social and political currents of the Civil War. They see that the battlefield is not just a chessboard of tactical moments.”

Experiential learning in the battlefield

History Prof. Ian Isherwood ’00 said a central goal of a liberal arts education is to instill critical thinking skills. “It’s our job as faculty to encourage our students to learn new ways of approaching the past through its tangible symbols in our community,” he said.

As another example demonstrating the instructional value of Gettysburg’s landscape, Isherwood has his students conduct deep readings of Civil War letters while overlooking the fields of Gettysburg. In his First-Year Seminar, students use the letters to reflect on individual trauma, probe the meaning of monuments through the decades, and write reflections on sacrifice while viewing the headstones at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

“When you are between the ages of 18 and 25—prime military service age—the cemetery takes on a particular resonance,” Isherwood said. “Students reflect on their own lives at a leafy liberal arts institution and juxtapose that with the sacrifices that soldiers their age were making in the past. It’s a powerful moment for them.”

Blurring the truth

Challenging assumptions is integral to a Gettysburg College education. In Prof. Jill Ogline Titus’s class, Rewriting the Past: Historical Fiction and History, she teaches excerpts from The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, a novel that may be the best-known and most widely read book ever written on the Battle of Gettysburg.

Her class visits Little Round Top after reading the novel to probe how the book has shaped popular understanding of the Battle of Gettysburg and the 20th Maine. “Students, like all people, are sensitive to the power of place, and enjoy the opportunity to make connections between ideas, historical experiences, and landscapes,” explained Ogline Titus.

In art as in other disciplines, rigorous thinking and questioning is required, whether the historical context is examined through a contemporary lens or a historical lens is used to study contemporary events.

“War is a frequent motif for artists and a topic of contemplation for students of art and art history,” explained Prof. Shannon Egan, director of the Schmucker Art Gallery.

The art gallery—small, but mighty—hosts eight to 10 exhibits a year and houses major artistic works depicting the battlefield. Many past exhibits have included interpretations or responses to the Gettysburg Cyclorama depicting Pickett’s Charge.

Through Egan’s History and Theory of Photography class, Erica Schaumberg ’18, an art history major, said she analyzed the works of Civil War photographers such as Alexander Gardner, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, and Mathew Brady.

“Many of the photographs taken after the battle were staged or manipulated to create a more dramatic effect,” Schaumberg said. “They pushed my understanding of how, as Americans, we view the war today and how that perception is intertwined with politics, economics, and a sense of celebrity.”

As dusk descends on the GNMP and the tourists head home, Gettysburg students and faculty continue to muse upon their living laboratory. How did everyday soldiers feel contemplating the same moon back in 1863? Will the camera traps capture the mysterious nocturnal movements of the battlefield wildlife? In what ways will future artists be inspired by the landscapes outside the College’s front door? Every day, the GNMP gives the Gettysburg College community the opportunity to answer these questions and more.