Jeff Rankin  |  Published June 04, 2024

A ‘Festschrift’ for Urban

Emeritus professor to be honored by colleagues, students with book of 23 essays celebrating his long and distinguished career.

THE MAN OF THE HOUR: William Urban is flanked by Tom Sienkewicz, left, and Jeff Rankin, co-editors of his upcoming THE MAN OF THE HOUR: William Urban is flanked by Tom Sienkewicz, left, and Jeff Rankin, co-editors of his upcoming Festschrift. MONMOUTH, Ill.William L. Urban, who taught history at Monmouth College for nearly a half century, will be honored by former colleagues, students and friends with a Festschrift.

The emeritus Lee L. Morgan Professor of History and International Studies and his wife, Jackie, were the guests of honor at a surprise reception on May 24, when they were presented with an outline of the forthcoming book of essays, along with notes of greeting from the authors.

The event was held at the home of emeritus Monmouth classics professor Tom Sienkewicz and his wife, Anne. Sienkewicz, who initiated the project in February, is co-editing the Festschrift with Jeff Rankin, retired Monmouth College historian. More than a dozen guests attended, along with well-wishers who joined the reception remotely via Zoom.

A European tradition that originated in Germany before World War I, a Festschrift is an edited volume of academic essays written by faculty, former pupils and friends that is typically presented to an honoree during his or her lifetime.


A European tradition that originated in Germany before World War I, a Festschrift is an edited volume of academic essays written by faculty, former pupils and friends that is typically presented to an honoree during his or her lifetime.

Tentatively, the Urban Festschrift will contain 23 essays, along with an introduction and a biography of Urban. A list of books by Urban and selected articles written by him will also be included.

Urban, who taught at Monmouth from 1966-2015, is the author of nearly two dozen books on subjects such as East European history and the history of warfare. He served as an editor of the Journal of Baltic Studies and was the recipient of Monmouth’s prestigious Hatch Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Research. The William L. Urban History Prize was established at Monmouth in 2015 to reward excellence in research by history students.

Contributors to the Urban Festschrift include Tom Best, Jim Betts, Mathias Betyna, Mary Hanford, Simon Cordery, Stacy Cordery, Daniel Cotter ’88, Neil Dahlstrom ’98, Viv Edwards, Richard Harrod ’07, Fred Keller, Ken McMillan, Bradley Nahrstadt ’89, Joseph O’Neill ’01, Jeff Rankin, Richard Sayre, Sylvia Zethmayr Shults ’90, Tom Sienkewicz, Julia Sienkewicz, Janet Smith, Andrew Weiss, Vicki Wine and Clarence R. Wyatt.

William Urban is flanked by Tom Sienkewicz, left, and Jeff Rankin, co-editors of his upcoming Festschrift.

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