From the desk of Dr. Trani
Announced June 10, 2010, President Emeritus Trani has been appointed the Honorary President of CIMS, the Center for Integrative Mediterranean Studies
CIMS — the Center for Integrative Mediterranean Studies — is the collaborative Center established by the VCU, University of Messina and University of Cordoba partnership. Located in Sicily, the Center focuses on both collaborative teaching opportunities through study abroad and collaborative research projects among faculty of the three institutions. CIMS recently received a 254,000 euros grant for a major biology project, to compare rivers in Virginia, Spain and Sicily.
For the 2010-11 academic year, Dr. Trani will be a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London.
In 1972, when I was teaching in the history department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, the late Senator Paul Simon, then Lieutenant Governor, lost in the democratic primary for Governor of Illinois. I was sad and said to myself that if he ever ran again, I would help in his campaign. Soon, he announced for Congress from the district that SIU was in. Some faculty from SIU, myself included, helped in 1974 in the campaign, as noted later in Paul Simon’s book, “P.S.: The Autobiography of Paul Simon” (Chicago, Illinois: Bonus Books, Inc., 1999), p. 128. We also agreed to write a book after his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. The book, for a variety of reasons, never materialized. But my chapter, which was completed in 1975, did, and is hereby attached without revisions. Later, I did review one of Paul Simon’s books, “Paul Simon, Midwestern Progressive: A Review Essay of Paul Simon’s Winners and Losers: The 1988 Race for the Presidency – One Candidate’s Perspective,” Wisconsin Magazine of History, 73 (1989–1990), 134-141, co-authored with Jerrold C. Rodesch.
Paul Simon was a first class public servant, and in his years in the House of Representatives (1975–1985) and in the Senate (1985–1997), he made remarkable contributions to better the people of Illinois and our country. His 1974 campaign was my last involvement in politics as I became a university administrator, and served at the University of Nebraska (1975–1980), the University of Missouri-Kansas City (1980–1986), the University of Wisconsin System (1986–1990), and then Virginia Commonwealth University (1990–2009). I am proud to have been involved in his “political comeback” and treasure his memory. Since Senator Simon’s daughter, Sheila Simon, is the 2010 Democratic Candidate for his old office, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, there might be current interest in this account.
Eugene P. Trani
President Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor
Virginia Commonwealth University
May 24, 2010
A nearly 30-year interest in Russia and the Russian people came full circle for Virginia Commonwealth University President Emeritus Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., when he accepted an honorary doctorate from St. Petersburg State University during a whirlwind trip in July 2009 to celebrate the publication in Russian of his book, “Distorted Mirrors: Americans and Their Relations with Russia and China in the Twentieth Century,” and to sign an exchange agreement, on behalf of VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., with Moscow State University, where Dr. Trani taught American history in 1981 as a senior Fulbright Scholar.
Dr. Trani and Donald E. Davis, professor emeritus of history at Illinois State University, gave a talk on their latest book, “Distorted Mirrors: Americans and Their Relations with Russia and China in the Twentieth Century,” on Tuesday, June 23, at 3 p.m. at the Grace Street Theater, followed by a reception and book signing at the VCU Barnes and Noble bookstore at 4 p.m. The book is based on the premise that the U.S. is entering the 21st century facing two world powers that loomed less large in the previous century based on policies that were shaped by attitudes and relations of a different era.
The University of Missouri Press has just released “Distorted Mirrors: Americans and Their Relations with Russia and China in the Twentieth Century,” co-authored by Dr. Eugene P. Trani and Donald E. Davis, professor emeritus of history at Illinois State University.