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Konrad H. Jarausch - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Arts - History - 1964
Konrad Jarausch arrived in Laramie after long boat and train rides from Germany with no intention of going to college. The best way for a new immigrant to learn about America was, he thought, through employment. So he took a job working in the UW gardens.
"I had learned mostly Latin and Greek in German secondary school, and I knew little English. But curiosity drew me to a couple of public lectures on current American topics, given by Herb Dieterich and Bill Steckel. To my great surprise, not only was I able to follow the drift of their arguments, but I found their presentations fascinating. On the spot, I decided to apply and start studying the perplexing United States." After graduating cum laude from UW in history, Jarausch obtained master's and PhD degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Now one of the world's most distinguished historians of nineteenth-century Europe, he is Lurcy Professor in European Civilization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has held post-doctorates and fellowships through Princeton University, the Fulbright program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. His four major volumes on German and European history have been published by Yale, Princeton, Oxford, and the University of North Carolina. He has co-authored or edited four others, ranging from specific historical problems to quantitative methods in the discipline. "The fine training which I received in the UW American Studies Program helped me begin to grasp the many contradictions of the United States," he says now. "The faculty, Larry Gelfand in particular, showed me the rigorous scholarship coupled with humane commitment which I have tried to emulate as a historian of modern Germany."