BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Hess wins top Ohio Academy of History honor

Dr. Gary Hess, a Distinguished Research Professor of history and nationally known authority on U.S. foreign relations, has been named the 2009 winner of the Ohio Academy of History (OAH) Distinguished Historian Award.


Dr. Gary Hess

Hess is the fifth recipient of the award, which goes each year to a historian “whose teaching and scholarship, including substantial publications, transcend specialized fields and have an interest to educated persons beyond the discipline of history,” according to the academy.

Hess, a past president of the academy, will be honored at its spring meeting Friday and Saturday (April 3 and 4) at the University of Akron. As the award recipient, he will also deliver a public address at the meeting. His topic will be "The 'Lessons' of the Past: The Use of History in Decisions for America's Wars, 1950-2003."

“This is an unexpected recognition and means a great deal to me,” Hess said. “The previous recipients of the award are among Ohio’s most eminent historians, so it is a great honor to become a part of this ‘club.’”

Hess is the author of seven books. The most recent, “Vietnam: Explaining America’s Lost War,” published last year, addresses seven critical issues in the literature about the Vietnam War. Choice Magazine listed the book among its Outstanding Books of 2008.

His previous book, “Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2001, led to his service the following year as a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency on long-range planning of U.S. foreign policy. Also among his books is “Vietnam and the United States: Origins and Legacy of War,” published in 1990 by Macmillan/Twayne.

Another outgrowth of his expertise on U.S.-Asian relations has been his work as a consultant and lecturer in the officer-training program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.

Hess is also past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, a former editorial board member for the journal Diplomatic History and former chair of the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation.

In 2006, he became the 10th recipient of the Norman and Laura Graebner Award for lifetime achievement as a historian of U.S. foreign relations.

The Pittsburgh, Pa., native joined the BGSU faculty in 1964 and has held the rank of professor since 1972. He was named Distinguished Research Professor in 1988 in honor of his work on U.S. foreign policy and Asia. That same year, he received the Olscamp Research Award from the University, which subsequently presented him with its Distinguished Faculty Service Award (1997) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2000).

Also the recipient of three Fulbright awards and two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, Hess was chair of the BGSU history department from 1973-81 and 1985-92, as well as acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences during the 1981-82 academic year.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, in 1959, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia, in 1962 and 1965, respectively.

Dr. Scott Martin, history department chair, nominated Hess for the OAH award. Founded in 1931, the academy is a professional society of teachers, scholars, public historians and students interested in all fields of history.

March 30, 2009