College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

May 4th, 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020 - 8:30am

Dear HIST majors,

I hope this final message of the academic year finds you well and looking forward to the close of the Spring 2020 semester. I send you my best wishes as you complete your final exams – good luck!

These are certainly interesting times to be a student of history, as historians and historians-in-training have a deeper sense of context and a wider range of reference points than many others when it comes to understanding the power of disease to impact various aspects of life. Perhaps in recent weeks you’ve found your mind gravitating for context to the influenza pandemic of the early twentieth century, or perhaps to the plagues during the time of Byzantine emperor Justinian or the Athenian statesman Pericles. For others of you, your contexts might be smallpox in the Americas or the much more recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. For still others, as for me, you might be thinking about the fourteenth-century pandemic that contemporaries called the “Great Mortality” but that’s more commonly known today as the Black Death. Each of these historical events and processes offers lessons for the present, and your History faculty and I look forward to the time when we can be together with you once more to discuss these lessons and legacies.

Until then, though, there’s an opportunity for you to reflect on your experiences this spring in the 2nd Annual Digital Media Competition (move quickly, though, as the deadline is tonight, 5/4):

2nd Annual Digital Media Competition

Easy: Videos must be under 1 minute, including titles and credits

Careful: Do this safely!
Why: All of that creativity – you need to use it!

DEADLINE: Monday, May 4, 2020 by Midnight


1.     You must be a student at the University of Northern Iowa.

2.     One submission per person.

3.     Videos must be under 1 minute, including titles and credits.

4.     Videos can be of any genre or form, including, but not limited to, fiction, documentary, news, blog, journal, visual poem, experimental, animation, comedy, drama, romance, science-fiction!

5.     Videos must be related to the theme.

6.     Preferred Format: MP4 1920x1080 at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps (Other formats will be accepted but will be converted)

Questions? Contact Prof. Francesca Soans,

Even without a traditional UNI Commencement this spring, you can wrap up the semester by celebrating History’s B.A. and M.A. graduates. We are hosting a special Department of History Spring 2020 Convocation this Friday, 5/8, at 6:00 pm via Zoom. If you are graduating, or if you have friends who are graduating, you are cordially invited to attend. Email me at for the Zoom link. All are welcome, whether you’re participating in the UNI remote Commencement or planning to return to walk in the fall. Come and celebrate!

Please stay safe and healthy during the summer, and keep in touch. Feel free to share photos and news to be posted at our Facebook page in the coming months, and don’t hesitate to email if you have questions about History programs, your courses, and more. As always, I am happy to help any way I can.

Take good care until we meet again,

Dr. McNabb