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Foreign relations historian wins achievement award

by Sherry Fisher - June 2, 2008



Thomas Paterson, professor emeritus of history, is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award.

He is the 2008 winner of the Norman and Laura Graebner Award from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the premier professional association for diplomatic history. The award will be given at the annual meeting of the society at Ohio State University on June 28.

The prize recognizes a senior historian of United States foreign relations who has significantly contributed to the development of the field through scholarship, teaching and/or service, during his or her career.

President Michael J. Hogan, also a historian, praised Paterson for his work.

“Over a long and distinguished career, Tom has been a prolific author of many books and articles, including a book we edited together,” Hogan says.

“He was an extremely popular undergraduate teacher, and the mentor of many successful graduate students, including one who now holds the professorship I used to hold at Ohio State. He has also been a leader in our professional association, which is now honoring him with its Distinguished Service Award.”

Paterson joined the UConn faculty in 1967 and retired in 1997. During that time he worked with more than 30 doctoral students who have become teacher-scholars and public servants.

Since earning a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968, he has authored or edited 15 books, including Contesting Castro (Oxford University Press, 1994); On Every Front (W.W. Norton, 1992); Meeting the Communist Threat (Oxford University Press, 1988); and Soviet-American Confrontation (Johns Hopkins Press, 1973).

He has written or edited several textbooks, some in foreign language editions, including American Foreign Relations: A History (Houghton Mifflin, 2005).

He has also edited Kennedy’s Quest for Victory (Oxford University Press, 1989), and co-edited with Hogan two editions of Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1991 and 2004.)

In 1999, Scholarly Resources published a 22-roll microfilm edition of The Paterson Collection, documents on U.S.-Cuban relations.

Paterson has received many teaching and research awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also been on the editorial boards of the Journal of American History and Diplomatic History and was president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

He lives in Ashland, Ore., where he is informally associated with Southern Oregon University.

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