Peru State College
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News Release

Peru State to Present History Conference “The Trial of a Nation: 150 Years Since the Beginning of the Civil War”April 14-15


(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College’s (PSC) Phi Alpha Theta, a history honor society, will present the undergraduate conference The Trial of a Nation: 150 Years Since the Beginning of the Civil War on campus Thursday, April 14 through Friday, April 15. The event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first shots fired at Fort Sumter.


The public is invited to participate.


The interdisciplinary conference will feature topics like economics, art, music, medical technology, literature, psychology and sociology, and history of the Civil War. It provides social science/history majors and other undergraduate students studying in the region an opportunity to participate in a conference event and gain experience in evaluating abstracts, writing and presenting. It also presents an opportunity for students to develop organizational and leadership skills.


A first prize of $500 will be presented in each of four categories, including papers, posters, poetry and PowerPoint presentations. Second place winners in each category will be awarded $100.


Those interested in attending the conference can register at Registration fees to attend the entire conference, including meals, are $60 for non-students and $30 for students.


The conference will begin the evening of Thursday, April 14 with a reception featuring songs from the Civil War era by PSC English Professor Dr. Dan Holtz. Cost to attend the event, which is from 5-7 p.m. in the PSC Library, is $10 for those who are not registered for the full conference.


Friday’s activities begin with registration and a continental breakfast in the Live Oak Room of the PSC Student Center from 8-9 a.m. Forty presenters will then lead three sessions with papers, PowerPoints, posters and poetry readings about the Civil War in the CATS Conference Room and Rooms 201 and 209 from at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be served in the Burr Oak Room of the Student Center at Noon and will feature Peg Keenan discussing the history of Civil War quilts. Cost to attend Friday’s activities only, which includes breaks and lunch, is $20.


A Civil War reenactment will be held at the Steamboat Trace Trailhead (north of downtown Peru) by the Western Iowa Brigade representing the 165th New York Brigade from Noon-5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Willet and Carothers Law Firm of Beatrice. Transportation to the site is available.


Activities will conclude at 6 p.m. Friday in the Live Oak Room of the Student Center at a banquet featuring keynote speaker Paul Finkelman, an expert in slavery and Constitutional law. Finkelman’s legal history work has been cited by numerous courts and in many appellate briefs. First and second place award winners in each category will be announced at the event. Cost to attend the banquet is $25 for those not registered for the full conference.


For more information, visit or contact PSC History Professors and Phi Alpha Theta Advisors Dr. Sara Crook at 402-872-2279 or or Dr. Spencer Davis at 402-872-2286 or