The University of Evansville’s Department of History will welcome Steven P. Gietschier, university curator and associate professor of history at Lindenwood University, as guest speaker for the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture. His topic will be “From before Jackie Robinson to after Ferguson.’ American Sports and Political Activism.” The event is tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Room 170, Schroeder School of Business Building. It is free and open to the public.
In the wake of professional athletes commenting publicly on the events in Ferguson and other acts that have led to community protests, Gietschier will examine the long history of American athletes getting involved in political or social activism. He will explore the circumstances where American athletes have stepped away from their games and into the larger arena in which we all live, as well as times when they have they not. He will examine why these decisions were made and the results of these decisions.
Gietschier earned his BSFS in international affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and his MA and PhD in history from Ohio State University. Before joining the Lindenwood faculty in 2009, he worked for the Ohio Historical Society, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and The Sporting News. He joined the The Sporting News staff in 1986, as the publication was celebrating its centennial, to take charge of the company's archives. He turned a chaotic collection of books, periodicals, photographs, index cards, clippings, and other materials into the Sporting News Research Center, one of the outstanding special libraries specific to sport, especially baseball, in the United States. He wrote the annual "Year in Review" essay in the Baseball Guide and edited the Complete Baseball Record Book for five years.
“Steve Gietschier is an extremely distinguished historian of American sports, and we are absolutely thrilled to bring him to the University of Evansville to deliver the Fiddick Lecture and interact with students in class,” said James MacLeod, UE professor of history and director of the Fiddick Memorial Lecture Series. “Professional athletes have played an important role in our nation’s politics over the years, and we are very much looking forward to having one of the country’s leading sports historians with us for the Fiddick Lecture.”
“It is especially appropriate,” added MacLeod, “Given Tom Fiddick’s lifelong passion for professional sports, especially baseball.”
Fiddick, for whom the Fiddick Memorial Lecture is named, served as professor of history at the University of Evansville from 1963 to 2002. In his 39 years at the University, he was a dedicated teacher, a productive scholar, and a tireless fighter in the cause of justice. His untimely death on the day of his retirement in 2002 stunned the entire UE community, especially his many former students. It was from the former students’ efforts in particular, with the support of Fiddick’s friends and the University, that the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture was established.
For more information, please call UE’s Department of History at 812-488-2965.