History Department Alumni

Bill Wagner ’89 is president and CEO of LogMeIn, a $1.2 billion dollar cloud-based software company that specializes in team collaboration, customer engagement, and identity protection products. In addition to his Lafayette history degree, Bill holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Business. His two biggest department mentors were Robert Weiner, who opened up the world for him more than any other person, and Bill’s honors thesis adviser, the late Richard Welch, who taught him humility and to better understand approaches to learning. Currently, Bill guides LogMeIn’s vision for an increasingly connected world. He joined the company in 2013, serving as LogMeIn’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer, and was promoted to President early in 2015. A cloud and technology industry veteran, Bill was previously Chief Operating Officer at Vocus, a cloud-marketing software company, where he led the sales, marketing, and services organizations. In a recent talk at Lafayette in April 2019, Bill explained how a liberal arts education prepared him for being the CEO of a global enterprise with 36 offices and some 4000 employees. He said, “most decisions that need to be made occur in a gray zone where there can be many wrong answers but no clear right answer.” Moreover, he added, “It’s important to appreciate different perspectives. Smart people can disagree yet still be civil while having a conversation.”

Christy Fic ’10 is the Archivist & Special Collections Librarian at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and currently holds the rank of Associate Professor. During her time at Lafayette she worked as a an EXCEL Scholar for Professor Donald L. Miller, and spent three years conducting research for his book Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America. After graduation, Christy received her Master’s in Library and Information Science with a specialization in archives, preservation, and records management from the University of Pittsburgh. Her first professional position was working as a contract archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives. At the end of her contract, Christy returned to Pennsylvania and accepted a position at Shippensburg University, where she earned a second master’s in Applied History. With her expertise in managing historical collections, archival best practices, and curating exhibits, Christy has had many opportunities to serve as a resource to local community organizations. In 2017 the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council asked Christy to help design a museum from the ground up. The Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum, operated by the CVRTC, tells the story of life on and around the rails in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley. As an academic librarian who collaborates with colleagues in the humanities and social sciences, Christy has pursued a multi-pronged research agenda that engages with the scholarly discourse across library science and cultural history. Her work has been published in The American Archivist and The Journal of Tourism History, leading journals in the field of archival science and travel and tourism, respectively.

Larry Fast ’73 is best known for his series of pioneering electronic music albums recorded under the project name SYNERGY. Larry is also a historian in his own right. He is a major contributor to several documentary, curatorial, and preservation projects, perhaps most prominently as co-writer and co-producer of the PBS documentary “Saving the Great Swamp.” Larry is also as board member of the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, advisor to the Thomas Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University, keynote speaker for the inauguration of the Moogseum (Robert Moog Foundation), and board member of the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project.  During a storied career, Larry contributed to numerous platinum-selling recordings as electronic music composer/arranger and producer. His long list of associates and collaborators include Nektar, Bonnie Tyler, Foreigner, Hall & Oates, Barbra Streisand, and others. Larry’s musical partnership with Peter Gabriel ran nearly a decade; he played synthesizer on recordings and tours, and was an associate producer on several albums. A true polymath, Larry’s developments in infrared audio technology have earned him several patents. On September 4, 2019, Larry addressed an audience of faculty and students in Kirby Auditorium on the history of sound and technology with a talk titled “Tracing Analog to Digital.”

Since graduating from Lafayette in 2019, Kamini Masood ’19 has been teaching history at a high school in her hometown of Lahore, Pakistan. She is also currently engaged in a Persian program to learn how to read manuscripts before graduate school. Although she came to Lafayette as an IA major, she “switched to History early on and the department has been incredibly supportive in every way both during my time at Lafayette and as I look to apply to graduate programs now.”In her graduating year, Kamini won the department’s best thesis award for her study “Within the ‘Chaadar’ and Chaardivari’: Haseena Moin, General Zia-ul-Haq, and New Histories of Pakistan,” under the direction of Professor Rachel Goshgarian. Kamini was also recipient of the Class of 1910 Award for achievement as a history major.

Tyler Bamford ’12 received his doctoral degree in history from Temple University in 2019. During his time at Lafayette he took a broad range of courses that included history, art history, German, and Chinese. Tyler spent three years as an EXCEL Scholar for Professor Donald L. Miller helping research his book, Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America. Tyler also contributed to HBO and History Channel documentaries on World War II and completed an honors thesis on Sino-American relations during World War II under the guidance of Professor Paul D. Barclay. While studying at Temple, Tyler enjoyed teaching undergraduate courses on U.S. military culture, World War II, and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. His dissertation examined the relationship between the U.S. and British armies between World War I and World War II. His research and studies have been supported by the Army Heritage Center Foundation, the Society for Military History, ABC-Clio, and the Beinecke Scholarship Program. Upon completing his PhD, Tyler received the Leventhal Research Fellowship at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jonathan Alerhand ’07 is a senior research analyst for a private investment firm in New York that allocates capital to other funds.  He found his history classes, particularly those taught by Professor Barclay on East Asia, to be particularly interesting and rewarding as part of his international affairs major. Jonathan’s history classes taught him how to read rigorously, write succinctly, think critically, develop an analytical mindset and perform research.  A history major may not seem appropriate for a finance professional, but Jonathan learned how to examine material thoroughly and recognize the need for using facts to support a contrarian truth-seeking mindset.   He learned to be appreciative and understanding of different views which is necessary in a world where fund managers and investment analysts are required to come up with a bull case, bear case and base case scenario for each potential position.  Accounting and research of financial statements and news releases such as 10-Ks requires one to be able to meticulously review footnotes and written text, an ability to which Jonathan owns largely to his history courses.  Jonathan feels that his history major taught him to “learn how to learn,” which he has found useful in  continuing education accounting classes and reading books on economics and investing during his spare time.

Susan Grunewald ’11 received her doctoral degree in History at Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. She majored in Russian and East European Studies and minored in German at Lafayette, but she took numerous history courses and wrote an honor’s thesis under the direction of Joshua Sanborn. She spent a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Applied Linguistics Department of the Ulyanovsk State Technical University in Russia after graduating from Lafayette, where she developed a passion for teaching and decided to pursue a doctorate in Soviet History. Her dissertation has been funded by a Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship through the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, two A.W. Mellon Fellowships in Digital Humanities, and the Central European History Society. Her success in graduate school would not have been possible without Lafayette’s rigorous coursework. Susan’s penchant for breaking boards over her head while a member of the Lafayette Taekwondo Club did not seem to do any permanent damage, and she can still be found practicing the martial art in her spare time at Carnegie Mellon.

Alexander (Alec) Imel ’12 is currently an attorney at a civil litigation law firm in Newark, NJ.  After graduating from Lafayette magna cum laude with a double major in History and Philosophy, Alec received his J.D. from Columbia Law School.  Getting a history degree from Lafayette was an influential part of preparing him for law school and a career as a lawyer.  History helped hone many of the practical skills a lawyer (and law student) needs such as researching, reading voluminous materials, and writing clearly.  One of his favorite courses was on Piracy in Early American History, which he further developed into a research project on piracy and America’s legal development.  The vibrancy of the stories brought the law alive for Alec and further ignited his passion for his profession.  Lafayette’s history professors taught him how to understand and analyze a story, which Alec has found crucial to helping his clients achieve positive results in the courtroom.  Outside of the classroom, Lafayette’s history professors provided Alec with valuable mentoring.  In his own words, Alec said, “I could not have gotten where I am without the advice and guidance of my history professors.  Even today, they continue to support me as I progress in my career.”

Jacqueline Olich ’92 writes that “my training as a historian informs everything I do–my work at RTI International, parenting, travel, social media–you name it. At Lafayette, I had the opportunity to learn from remarkable historians, notably Bob Weiner, Gillian Cell, Robert Rotberg, Andy Fix, Donald Miller, Richard Sharpless, Joan Neuberger, Charters Wynn, and Phil Swoboda. I traveled to Russia with Bob Weiner, Rex Ahene and Rado Pribic. I met both my husband (Andy Kennedy, ’89) and Mikhail Gorbachev at Lafayette College. As an undergraduate, I also studied abroad at The University of Edinburgh.”

James Homsey, ’03 received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December 2017. James is a socio-political historian of modern Japan with training in the premodern and modern history of Japan, China, and the broader Asia-Pacific region. He is currently on the academic job market, and plans to pursue a career in academia. James first developed an interest in the history and culture of the Asia-Pacific region thanks to his advisor at Lafayette, Paul Barclay. Inspired by Barclay’s classes, James set off to Nagoya, Japan in 2005 to teach English. What he expected to be a year-long adventure turned into a four year experience. After developing his Japanese language abilities, James decided to apply to graduate school in 2009 to study  Japanese history. He landed in Madison, Wisconsin under the guidance of Louise Young, and has never looked back. James has returned to Japan several times since, including as a Fulbright Fellow, and now considers the country a second home. He says that his experience at Lafayette instilled in him a curiosity and ambition that have fueled him along the path of his young academic career. He will be sure to keep us posted regarding where his journey takes him next.

George “Mason” Thomson ’16 is studying law at the University of Virginia. In addition to pursuing his newly acquired passion for the study of torts, Mason recently passed a test to become a Certified Application Counselor. He can now help the Charlottesville community make informed decisions about their health insurance through the Legal Aid Justice Center during open enrollment. Mason also reports that, despite the heavy workload, UVA is known for being a “fun” law school. He is currently a first baseman on his section’s softball team, to give one example of the fun to be had between bouts of study and volunteer work. At Lafayette, Mason completed an honors thesis in History and German under the direction of Bob Weiner, Margarete Lamb- Faffelberger, and DC Jackson, on the topic of German repatriation after the defeat in World War II. He says that “Identifying, understanding, and empathizing with different perspectives during my study of history has been invaluable for my experience at law school, there is no shortage of arguments to be read, and the skills I obtained in undergrad help me effectively synthesize these debates as I prepare for my exams.”

Andrew J. B. Fagal ’07 is an assistant editor for The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University. In this position he transcribes, verifies, annotates, and indexes the third President’s vast correspondence for publication (https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/). After graduating from Lafayette College with a double major in Economics & Business and History (with honors in History), he received his Ph.D. in early American history at Binghamton University, State University of New York. At Lafayette, Andrew was a member of the mock trial team and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Although most of his history courses were in early modern Europe, Japan, and the ancient world, a brief reading on Jefferson’s 1808 export embargo piqued his interest and eventually led to a thesis supervised by D.C. Jackson. Lafayette’s content-heavy curriculum and demanding coursework left him well prepared for graduate school and his eventual career as a professional historian.  In addition to his published work in the Jefferson Papers, Andrew’s academic writings have appeared in Enterprise & Society, The New England Quarterly, and New York History. If you enjoy posts about early American history, you can follow him on Twitter @Andrew_Fagal.