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UNH Awards First Shulman Professorship to Historian Jeffry Diefendorf

By Mary Peterson, UNH Foundation
June 20, 2007

Jeffry Diefendorf, professor of history, has been awarded the first Pamela Shulman Professorship of European and Holocaust Studies at UNH.

"Professor Diefendorf is the perfect recipient for this prestigious appointment given his well-recognized scholarship in German urban history and Holocaust studies,” said Marilyn Hoskin, dean of UNH’s College of Liberal Arts. "We are delighted Jeff has been recognized and we look forward to his continued contributions to Holocaust education."

The Shulman Professorship was established at the university in January of 2007, through the generosity of Steven Shulman in honor of his late wife Pamela S. Levy Shulman and her interest in Holocaust education. It was created to position the university as a leader in European and Holocaust studies, and to encourage faculty teaching and scholarship on the Holocaust.

A historian specializing in modern German and urban history, Diefendorf led a successful drive five years ago—together with Leslie Schwartz, then president of Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Temple Israel—to establish an endowed fund for Holocaust education at UNH.

"I thought the subject was so important that it should have a place in the curriculum," Diefendorf said. "In the middle of the 20th century, one of the most advanced countries launched one of the most barbaric exercises that we know of. I think it's really important for people to understand how that could happen."

Diefendorf completed his doctoral work in German history at the University of California at Berkeley and came to UNH in 1976. He served as history department chair from 1991 to 1997, and then became a senior faculty fellow in the office of the dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He teaches courses on the history of Germany, historical methods, and the Holocaust.

Pamela Shulman was a longtime activist and supporter of the community, arts, and education. She was also a member of Temple Israel in Portsmouth, where she served as a board member. Shulman also served on the board at The Music Hall and Families First Health and Support Center. A strong believer in the importance of higher education, she graduated from UNH with a bachelor of arts in history in 1984.

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