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Friday, October 22, 2021

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SDSU professor and history department chair, Andrew Wiese. SDSU professor and history department chair, Andrew Wiese.
 


USS Midway Foundation, SDSU Announce New Endowed Modern U.S. Military History Chair

The position will be made possible through a $3 million, five-year pledge from the USS Midway Foundation.
By Cory Marshall
 

San Diego State University will soon be the only public university on the West Coast with an interdisciplinary program in modern U.S. military history. Announced during a presentation aboard the USS Midway on Tuesday, June 11, the USS Midway Foundation has made a $3 million, five-year pledge to create and fund an endowed chair in modern U.S. military history at SDSU. 

Midway’s board of directors unanimously approved its foundation gift during a meeting on Thursday, June 6, 2019. The USS Midway Chair gift is the single largest gift received by the university’s College of Arts and Letters. The endowed chair will sit in the college’s Department of History.

“SDSU has a proud history supporting and developing our military leaders, from the beginning of their careers through pivotal moments in their military trajectories to their transition into civilian leadership roles,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “This partnership marks another proud and historic chapter for our university as a military partner. With the USS Midway Foundation’s generous endowment gift, we will be able to amplify the impact of our military education programs and research efforts—but also our capacity to educate our broad student population on military history.”

“The USS Midway Chair in Military History allows us to move forward with developing a new and highly promising interdisciplinary program,” said Pierre Asselin, the Dwight E. Stanford Chair in U.S.-Foreign Relations at SDSU.

The USS Midway Foundation supports organizations serving veterans, active-duty families, first responders, and freedom-based education programs. Affiliated with the USS Midway Museum, it is the philanthropic arm of what has become the most-visited historic naval ship museum in the world and host to more than 50,000 students annually.  

“Since opening in 2004, the USS Midway Museum education program has expanded from elementary school STEM study programs to high school academic and vocational initiatives and now the support of relevant education programs at the university level,” said Midway’s president and CEO John "Mac" McLaughlin

“As we celebrate the museum’s 15th anniversary this summer, the announcement is a fitting capstone to our ongoing mission of educating and inspiring students at all levels in support of our mission to become America’s living symbol of freedom,” McLaughlin said. 

The new faculty position will focus specifically on military history from 1940-present and work to advance research, teaching, and public engagement in the areas of modern military, naval, and maritime history; the histories of war, statecraft, and national security policy; military technology; war and society; military combat operations, military humanitarian operations; post-war reconciliation; the lives of combatants, veterans, survivors; and public memory. 

In addition to leading the new interdisciplinary area of study, the chair will also have a pivotal role in shaping SDSU’s Center for Military History (CMH), which was established in February 2019. 

“We recognized that San Diego is among the largest active duty military and veteran centers in the world. We saw this advantage in our classrooms, where over 3,000 military-affiliated students create possibilities for informed dialogue that few campuses can match,” said SDSU professor and history department chair, Andrew Wiese. “We feel the time and place are right for this endowed chair and for the university to better serve and enhance our community.”

SDSU is home to a number of existing military-minded programs and initiatives including the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, the Language Acquisition Resource Center, the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy and the Departments of Military Science, Naval Science and Aerospace Studies, which are located within SDSU’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts.  Additionally, in May 2019, SDSU and the U.S. Coast Guard finalized a partnership in an effort to provide students with scholarship and research opportunities and prepare them for the workforce, while increasing the diversity of the agency’s military officers.

A national search will begin immediately for the new USS Midway Chair, with the goal of filling the position for the 2020-21 academic year.

“We are grateful for USS Midway Foundation’s vote of confidence as we continue a proud tradition serving our military community and, by extension, the San Diego community and beyond,” said de la Torre.