Humphries aims to support history

Professor named Dunkley Chair for history and research


Photo by Will
Photo by Will

Mark Humphries has added another title to his already lengthy resume.

Humphries, an associate professor in the department of history at Wilfrid Laurier University and director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, is the newly appointed Dunkley Chair in war and the Canadian experience.

The Dunkley Chair focuses on how war affects history and society and provides funding to the LCMSDS to run various activities.
Humphries is a published scholar, has written and edited five books and has published more than a dozen articles in military history and the history of health.

Humphries also completed his undergraduate degree at Laurier while dedicating years of work at the centre.

“[The Dunkley Chair] means a lot to me because I did my undergrad here at Laurier, so coming back is a great opportunity. I spent a number of years here at the centre as well. The Dunkley Chair, I think, provides us with the opportunity to be one of the foremost research centres of military history in the country,” Humphries said.

Laurier alumni Sara and Brad Dunkley created the Dunkley Chair to ensure the LCMSDS can have a stable director for the next 10 years.
In addition, the chair position was created to provide operating funds to support activities such as leading battlefield tours for students overseas, providing research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and continuing to publish the Canadian Military History Journal.

“Sara and Brad Dunkley were both alumni here from the business program at Laurier and were very generous with granting us with that $1.5 million gift,” said Humphries.

The appointment as Dunkley Chair will allow Humphries to concentrate on opportunities in research and teaching about world wars, especially Canada’s experience in the First World War.

Humphries is also working on a current project involving the pension files of WWI soldiers.

These files are currently stored in Charlottetown, PEI, at the headquarters of Veterans Affairs. There is a $4,000 grant that will allow Humphries to claim these files. Humphries emphasized the importance for students interested in history and war to get involved.

“One of the exciting things that we’re doing is we’re bringing over the archive of over 2,000 microfilm reels that we’re digitizing here at Laurier from Veterans Affairs …” Humphries said.

“They’ve never been looked at before, and what we’ll be doing over the next few years is digitizing those files and making them available to other researchers, myself and other faculty members and students. So there are lots of opportunities for students to get involved in the research.”

These opportunities are offered to history and faculty of arts students, but are also available to students who are interested in history but are in different fields of study.

As for Humphries, he’s honoured to find himself somewhere that complements what he loves to do.

“I look forward to building on the programs and projects which [the Dunkley’s] felt it was important to support,” he concluded.

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