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Monroe Fordham Regional History Center Established

Posted: October 19, 2001
Buffalo State College will establish a Monroe Fordham Regional History Center, college officials announced on recently.

Named after its professor emeritus of History and Social Studies Education, the center will promote the study of regional history, provide for scholarly publications and research and foster the inclusion of regional history in the curricula of Western New York school systems, according to E. O. Smith, chair and distinguished service professor of History and Social Studies Education. The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center is his brainchild.

Smith said the formal dedication of the center, to be located in the Classroom Building, will take place in the spring 2002 semester. The announcement of the center, Smith said, coincides with the college's establishment of its new concentration in museum studies for its master's in history program and an undergraduate minor as well. The new concentration and minor will deal with a broad range of museums, as well as galleries and archives, and complement the college's already established internship programs in this area, Smith said.

"We have students, for instance, who have interned at the Transportation Museum, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural site and the Chautauqua Institute," he noted.

"We see the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center as a way of training students who may want to consider public history or museum studies to learn the skills that will make them useful to their community," Smith said.

Based on Fordham's extensive local African American and regional history collections, the center named after him will also feature documents such as church records and historically significant materials from various communities. Smith added the college has worked collaboratively with a number of entities throughout Western New York, as well as Buffalo State's archivist, Mary Delmont, to establish the Fordham Center collection.

Fordham, who received a SUNY Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Buffalo State's 2001 Commencement last May, was one of 50 educators in the United States selected in 1986 by the American Association for Higher Education, the Carnegie Foundation and Change magazine as a professor who has made a significant difference in higher education. Lauded for his contributions to the location, reclamation and rescue of New York State's African American history, Fordham is co-founder of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier. He has received the Augspurger Award of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and his contributions to education have been recognized by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Gamma Phi Omega Chapter, which elected him to its Black Hall of Fame.

In 1999, the achievements of the retired historian, archivist, editor, educator, communicator and community activist were celebrated during a major conference, "Fostering Community through Applied History: A Multidisciplinary Conference in Honor of Dr. Monroe Fordham." The event brought national and Canadian scholars together to celebrate the monumental work of the Afro-American Historical Association and honor its founder.

The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center Civic Advisory Board includes:

  • Russ Maxwell
  • chair, general manager of Rural Metro Medical Services, Inc.;



  • Michael Barrell
  • honorary consul for the Federal Republic of Germany;

  • Cesar Cabrera
  • assistant administrative director of the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Inc.;

  • Lucia Caracci Cullens
  • vice consul, Vice Consulate of Italy;

  • Rev. James Doukis
  • Hellenic Orthodox Church of Annuncif urban services, Department of Extension Services, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library;

  • Kerry Mitchell
  • public affairs officer, Consulate General of Canada;

  • Roger Puchalski
  • managing editor, The Am-Pol Eagle;

  • Jack Shapiro
  • owner, Mastman's Kosher Delicatessen; and,

  • Kevin Townsell
  • proprietor, Shannon Pub.

    Buffalo State College faculty associates include:

  • Felix Armfield
  • assistant professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • Jean Richardson
  • assistant professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • Cynthia Conides
  • assistant professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • Andrew Nicholls
  • assistant professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • Kenneth Mernitz
  • associate professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • E. O. Smith
  • chair and distinguished service professor, History and Social Studies Education;

  • Lydia Fish
  • professor, Anthropology;

  • Francis Kowsky
  • professor, Fine Arts;

  • Charles Mancuso
  • professor, Performing Arts Department;

  • Mary Delmont
  • college archivist;

  • Nuala Drescher
  • distinguished service professor emeritus, History and Social Studies Education; and,

  • Monroe Fordham
  • professor emeritus of History and Social Studies Education.

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