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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Keyword: history
Kara Monahan

I graduated from the Mount in 2002 with a major in English and a minor in History. To this day, a well-worn copy of my freshman seminar book, Choices, sits on my bookshelf. That anthology represents for me the essence of my Mount experience—thoughtful engagement with a variety of sources about the important choices that shape our lives: education, values, and more.


Assistant Professor of history Dr. Gregory Murry has just published a major study of Renaissance Italian politics.  The book, The Medicean Succession: Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo Medici’s Florence, marks the first time a Mount professor has published with the prestigious Harvard University Press.

The Medicean Succession traces the unlikely success of a duke appointed by political compromise at age seventeen.  Drawing on a wide variety of archival and published sources, Murry examines how Cosimo and his court successfully employed the image of a divinely-inspired monarch.  Attentive to theological rhetoric and culture, Murry posits that Cosimo was able to channel preexisting local religious assumptions as a way to establish continuities with Florence’s republican and renaissance past.  In one of the first reviews, Steve Donoghue, of Open Letters Monthly, calls Murry’s Book “shrewdly intelligent and rollingly entertaining.” 

Dr. Murry came to Mount St. Mary’s in 2010, after completing doctoral work at Penn State.  He was an undergraduate, majoring in Catholic Studies, at University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).  At the Mount, Dr. Murry has been exercised leadership in the history department’s honor society, and in the development and implementation of the new Veritas Program.  Last spring Dr. Murry received the Class of 1950 Award for outstanding service to the university, and was named the Monsignor Tinder Professor in recognition of his support of the liberal arts.

The chair of the Mount’s history department, Dr. Curtis Johnson, notes, “Over the years, Mount St. Mary’s faculty members have published their work with prestigious academic presses and have won national awards for their essays, articles and monographs.  Dr. Gregory Murry has added his name to the above list.  The history department is very proud of Dr. Murry and his accomplishment.”

College of Liberal Arts faculty Jamie Gianoutsos, lecturer of history, Greg Murry, assistant professor of history, and University Professor Carol Hinds of the English department, recently took a group of sophomore honors students to Washington D.C. as part of the Veritas course Imagination and Invention. They went to the National Gallery, where Dr. Murry lectured on Van Eyck's painting "Annunciation, " and Prof. Gianoutsos lectured on Jacques Louis David's painting "Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries." The group also visited the Folger Shakespeare Library, and saw a Folger production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. For many of the students, this was the first time seeing a live performance of Shakespeare.

The trip allowed the students to apply the history and art theory they are learning in the classroom, and for many it was very rewarding. "I've never enjoyed a play as much, " said Micuela Kowalski of the Shakespeare performance.

"I feel very privileged to be a part of a program that treats students to trips like this," Peter Kelly said.

The trip was sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors Program.

students at national gallery of art

students in DC

dr murry lecturing

New Internship Component to History Major

As part of the History Department's concentrated focus on career planning, beginning with the Class of 2017 all history majors will complete an internship. Depending on student circumstances, internships will be 1-, 2- or 3-credit experiences. Students can complete an internship during the regular semester or over the summer, from the spring of their sophomore year up to graduation. History majors can also complete more than one internship (up to 12-credit hours are allowed) during their time at the Mount.

Faculty advisors in the History Department will encourage students to look for internships early in their undergraduate years. All history majors will learn about internship opportunities in HIST 202 Making History; the university's Career Center, along with Samantha Rife, the department's Administrative Assistant, will also serve as valuable resources as students seek relevant internships. The new component of the major is based on a commitment to importance of practical experience in developing students' skills and preparing for the post-college job market.

Congratulations to Brian Houdek, C'14, this year's recipient of the Patrick J. Goles Prize for Leadership. The Goles Prize is awarded to an outstanding junior who exemplifies the Mount's pillars of Faith, Discovery, Leadership and Community. Brian is a double-major in theology and history, a member of the track and field team, and is an active member of Campus Ministry, serving as a FOCUS Bible study leader, Kairos retreat leader and Mountward Bound retreat team member. Brian also volunteered for the past two years on several community-based service projects and believes there is a leader in all of us: read more about his perspective on leadership.

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