University Park, IL,
12:06 PM

GSU Shares NEH Grant with Southland Community

War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities


Media Contact:Rosemary Johnsen




For Immediate Release 

University Park, IL—The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Governors State University a prestigious grant for a project that provides opportunities for veterans and their families, through the study and discussion of important humanities sources. “War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities" encourages the community to think more deeply about issues raised by war and military service. Co-creators Professors Rosemary Johnsen and Andrae Marak from The College of Arts and Sciences are now taking the discussion into the community through hosting four town hall events, with the help of student veterans.

The program, which recruited and trained student-veterans to serve as small group discussion facilitators for a special topics course, explored representations of individual veterans' memories of war, and also the broader public question of the purpose of commemoration. The students worked with humanities sources like poetry, fiction, film, visual art, memoirs, oral histories, and personal correspondence to cover World War I, Vietnam, women in combat, and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict.

Dr. Rosemary Johnsen said, “The multi-disciplinary college class at the center of the NEH grant project was designed to lead into engagement with GSU’s campus and regional communities. As project directors, we are committed to creating spaces beyond the classroom for veterans and non-veterans to interact through a shared engagement with humanities study. Having student-veterans serving as discussion facilitators has helped build bridges between veterans and non-veteran students. Their intermediary role—not a professor, not a class student—allows them to share their experiences through engagement with the literature in ways the enrich student learning and reduce the sense of isolation sometimes experienced by student-veterans on college campuses. They held a panel presentation and poetry discussion on Veterans Day, and they are looking forward to sharing with, and learning from, the audiences at these off-campus sites.”


March 19 Benjamin O. Davis VFW Post 311, Richton Park, IL, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

April 16 Purdue University Northwest, Hammond, IN, 1-3 p.m.

April 16 Matteson Public Library, Matteson, IL, 6 to 8 p.m.

The first public town hall was held at Prairie State College on February 26, 2019.

Visit for details on planned events.




Governors State University serves 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students with degree programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 35 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL and committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence while transforming student passion into lifelong purpose.

The “War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities" project is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.