Valencia Professors Commemorate World War I Armistice

Kimberly Dang

The past six months, professors at Valencia East Campus have been working hard to put together a six-week long speaker series that will commemorate the end of World War I.  Each week, professors with diverse academic degrees will present different views of World War I at the speaker series titled The Culture and History of World War I.

Under the direction of Dr. Bill Gombash, a professor of speech, the speaker series will be presented every Tuesday from Oct. 9 through Nov. 13 from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

“My hope is that everyone sees how complicated a topic like World War I can be. We can understand the war from a variety of different perspectives. Not just military point of views, but also through literature, gender issues, and influential point of views,” says Dr. Gombash.

The speaker series presents:

  • The Broken Gargoyles and Other Tragedies: The Wounded Victims of the Great War as Portrayed in Film by Speech Professor Dr. Bill Gombash on Oct. 9 in the Building 3 Atrium.
  • The Great War and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by History Professor Michael Savage on Oct. 16 in the Building 3 Atrium.
  • The Road to World War I, or How Pettiness and Jealousy Led Squabbling Children into a Disaster in 1914 by History Professor Carl Creasman on Oct. 23 in Building 3-113.
  • World War I and Gender Identity: How the Great War Undermined What it Meant to be a Man and Changed What it Meant to be a Woman by History Professor Heather Bryson on Oct. 30 in Building 3-113.
  • Higher Education in Combat, the Poets by Humanities Professor Eric Wallman on Nov. 6 in the Building Atrium.
  • From Shell Shock to Culture Shock: What Sparked the Roaring Twenties by English Professor Nicole Valentino on Nov. 13 in the Building 3 Atrium.

One thing that Professor Carl Creasman believes will stand out in his presentation is that “there is no bad guy who is guilty for the war. What I teach my students is that the proper statement is ‘either no country is guilty, or every participating country is guilty…but no one country or person is guilty”.

“I think something that I find the most interesting about World War I is how we got into the war. Everyone is kind of working to go into the war even though it was a deadly thing and there was a whole bunch of deaths. It’s just so terrible and it blows my mind that we did go into the war,” said 17-year-old dual-enrollment student Neena Shimada.

Both Valencia College students and faculty members are invited to attend the speaker series.

“I’m happy to see that the college is doing something to mark the centennial of the war’s end. World War 2 gets more attention than the first World War in America, most likely because we had less involvement in the first war,” Professor Eric Wallman shares.

“I definitely find the speaker series interesting. I like learning about history, and I really find everything helpful to my class. It’s really good to come and learn new stuff,” says Juan David Celis, 17-year-old dual-enrollment student.

In addition to the speaker series, Valencia College has a display showcasing books and films connected to World War I in the East Campus library.