Athan Theoharis has been an integral part of this department since 1969. Along with Francis Paul Prucha, S.J., Frank Klement, and John Patrick Donnelly, S.J., he is among the best-known historians to have worked in the department in the last thirty years. He is characterized by an incredible work ethic, high standards of professionalism, a heightened sense of collegiality, and a steadfast faith in the power of scholarship to encourage government accountability and responsible citizenship. His service to the university includes a number of terms on the Department’s Executive Committee (his last term expired just last year) and on the Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Athan has put his expertise to work as a scholar; as an expert for dozens of newspaper articles, broadcast news reports, and documentaries; and as the author of articles on policy-related issues in magazines like The Nation. Although he is not someone who puts himself forward for offices in professional organizations, he has worked on committees related to the preservation of and access to government documents for both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the leading professional organizations for historians in the United States. He has also testified before Congress and been a member of task forces on public access to government records. His community service includes memberships on the local and state boards of the American Civil Liberties Union; he has also been an active volunteer for the local chapter of UNICEF.
Although Athan has been honored in many ways – including being one of the first recipients of MU’s Faculty Award for Research Excellence (2002) – perhaps the most prestigious and telling award was his induction into the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. The Wisconsin Academy is one of the state’s oldest scholarly organizations; it was founded in 1870 and has published the peer reviewed Transactions since 1872 and the Wisconsin Academy Review for general readers since the 1950s. Among the current members are scholars, artists, businessmen, and community leaders, including Fr. Francis Prucha, S.J., Professor Emeritus of the Marquette History Department, Lukas Foss, former director of the Milwaukee Symphony; former Senator and Governor Gaylord Nelson; former Milwaukee mayor Frank Zeidler; and Shirley S. Abrahamson, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That Athan has been included in this distinguished and eclectic group indicates the importance of his contribution to the field of history in particular and to the intellectual lives of Marquette University and the nation in general.
The most recent publications of Dr. Theoharis: