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Andrew Morris, associate professor of history, was a featured speaker at Ohio University’s George Washington Forum. The university held a series of debates and lectures focusing on “The Great Depression Revisited.” Morris discussed charitable giving during and after the Great Depression. 

Peter Bedford, the John and Jane Wold Professor of Religious Studies and director of Religious Studies, recently presented “Temple Funding and Priestly Authority in Achaemenid Judah” at  “Exile and Return: the Babylonian Context,” a workshop held at University College London as part of a European Research Council-funded project. He also presented a second paper, “Wisdom, Order and the Loss of Kingship in Post-Exilic Judah,” at the Old Testament/Hebrew seminar at Oxford University. Both papers will be published in future volumes. 

Stephen Berk, the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies, spoke at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, N.J. Berk discussed “Turmoil in the Middle East: Ramifications of the Arab Spring and the Role of the United States.” The New Jersey Jewish News also interviewed Berk about his lecture. 

Jermaine Wells, media coordinator for academic and special events, released his debut solo EP, “For Dancing Girls & Admirers.” A singer and rapper, Wells held a CD release party at The Dublin Underground in Albany and performed some of the tracks from the album, whose influences range from techno-party music to old school hip-hop. The Daily Gazette previewed the CD release party and highlighted the upcoming EP’s release. 

Peter Heinegg, professor of English, recently published “Crazy Culture: The Sins of Civilization,” through University Press of American. Heinegg confronts the notion that culture, or at least non-Western culture, “is somehow intrinsically a good thing.” 

Tim Olsen, associate professor of music, will lead a quintet in an afternoon of original jazz compositions Sunday, Jan. 8 at the Stockade Inn in Schenectady. Presented by the Swingtime Jazz Society, the concert will feature two sets of original music as well as an open jam session for local musicians. The event begins at 4 p.m. General admission is $15; $5 for students. For information or reservations, call 584-3548. 

Tina Lincer, associate director of Communications, participated in a Bookmarks reading at The Arts Center of the Capital Region last month. As part of the center’s ongoing Memoir Project, BookMarks features local writers in a series of group readings of personal essays and other works grounded broadly in personal experience. 

A book chapter by Zoe Oxley, professor of political science, titled, “More Sources, Better Informed Public? New Media and Political Knowledge,” has been published in “iPolitics: Citizens, Elections, and Governing in the New Media Era.” (Cambridge University Press) 

The College has received two Accolades awards from the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education (CASE) for publications and communications in the 2010-11 academic year. 

“True Crime or Texas Tall Tale? Unraveling a 40-year-old mystery,” written by Phil Wajda, director of Media and Public Relations, received a Silver Award for Best Article. The story, published in the summer 2011 issue of the alumni magazine, was the first thorough examination into the June 1971 heist of one of the College’s most valuable treasures – an original volume of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, considered the world’s most expensive book. Wajda uncovered new leads in the famous case, interviewing more than two dozen people, poring over old court records and uncovering new material in the College’s archives. He also tracked down one of the thieves, now 78, whose explosive account threatens to shatter long-held assumptions about the crime. Read his story here

Also, the Union web site received a Bronze Award in the Institutional Home Page category. The redesign was led by the Web Communications Team, which is Director Ken George, Associate Director Jason Slater, and Manager Erik Espana, with assistance from design partner mStoner. 

To submit an item to People in the news, e-mail Christen Gowan at gowanc@union.edu