Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life and Legacy of Award-Winning Biographer and Historian Stephen B. Oates: UMass Amherst

A wide range of distinguished attendees will commemorate the late biographer and historian Stephen B. Oateslongtime UMass Amherst faculty member, during a day celebrating his life and work at Old Chapel on Friday, September 9.

The event is free, although places are limited. Please register in advance.

Oates was the Paul Murray Kendall Professor of History and Biography Professor at UMass Amherst from 1968 to 1997. He died in August 2021.

Thought leaders and experts will highlight Oates’ contributions as a biographer, public intellectual, professor and colleague in a series of panels. Stephen B. Oates as a Biographer illuminates timely issues of using the art of biography to address race, gender, and equality; Stephen B. Oates as a public intellectual recognizes him as a biographer and historian, who distinctly embodies moral imagination and courage; Stephen B. Oates, as a teacher and colleague, presents appreciations from faculty and alumni of Oates’ impact on their lives and careers. The one-day symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guest speakers and panelists will include:

  • Harold Holzerkeynote speaker, renowned Lincoln scholar, and current president of the Lincoln Forum

  • Catherine Clintonacclaimed author and Civil War historian

  • Frank J. Williamsretired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and President Emeritus of the Lincoln Forum

  • David A. Lowy ’83, Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

  • Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities; 18th President of Mount Holyoke College

  • Gretchen Holbrook GerzinaProfessor of English and Paul Murray Kendall Chair in Biography at UMass Amherst

  • Carla KaplanDavis Distinguished Professor of American Literature, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Northeastern University

  • Playthell BenjaminBlack studies pioneer, award-winning scholar, journalist and broadcaster

  • Jonathan Hensleigh ’81, great screenwriter, director and film producer

  • Joyce Berkmanprofessor emeritus of history at UMass Amherst

  • Helen Sheeybiographer and lecturer

  • Hugh Carter Donahue ’72, author and consultant

Family and friends will share their memories and appreciations to close the program.

“We greatly appreciate the strong commitment and heartfelt support of the entire university for this exceptional event,” said Greg Oates, family representative and son of Stephen Oates.

The UMass Amherst Department of History, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and UMass Amherst Libraries are sponsoring the event.

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