Five Questions: Paula Treckel

A member of the history department since 1981, Paula Treckel reflects on her Allegheny experiences by answering our questions. She teaches a variety of courses on American History and has explored the life of famous Allegheny graduate and muckraker, Ida Tarbell. Her current research investigates the history of American wedding celebrations.

  1. What is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is a seminar room, Arter 212.  This is the classroom in which I have taught some of my favorite classes — a junior seminar on Witchcraft in Colonial New England, and a First Year Seminar on America’s First Ladies.  It is also the place where I first met Allegheny students when I came to the campus for my job interview many years ago.  When I enter that room, I am surrounded by history — the history of the College in the photographs of famous alumni on the walls (including Ida Tarbell), and of our history students in the senior projects which are housed in the book cases lining the paneled walls.  It is a room in which I have had many wonderful moments as a teacher.

  1. What in your opinion makes Allegheny a unique place?

Allegheny College is its people. Our students are interesting and informed.  They work hard and care about their education. The faculty is dedicated to teaching, and our administration is committed to making the College the best place that it can possibly be.  I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention our remarkable college support staff.  From the people on our physical plant crews who maintain our buildings and keep our campus beautiful, our building coordinators who make sure that students and faculty work in the best possible environment, to the workers in the post office, our cleaning crews, and the staff at McKinley’s… all of them play a role in making Allegheny College a unique and special place.

  1. What is the coolest thing that Allegheny has made possible for you?

On July 28, 1995, I was asked to give the Friday morning lecture in the Amphitheater at the Chautauqua Institution.  I spoke on the 75th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting American women suffrage.  My lecture, “’Forging the Thunderbolts:’ Elizabeth Cady Stanton and American Feminism,” was the culmination of “Great Teachers Week” at Chautauqua. Allegheny College asked me to give this presentation and I was deeply honored to do so.  Only someone who has ever stood on the Amphitheatre stage and looked out into an audience of more than 5,500 people can know how terrified, yet exhilarated, I was by the experience.  I was stunned by the standing ovation that I received.  It is an experience that Allegheny made possible and one that I will never forget.

  1. What goal(s) have you set for the next three years?

I am retiring at the end of this academic year, and I have enjoyed my time at the College.  As yet, I have no major “goals” for my retirement. Perhaps that is what I am looking forward to most! Not HAVING to set goals. I am looking forward to my next adventure!

  1. You are seated next to President Mullen at dinner. What do you strike up a conversation about?

GOLF!  President Mullen loves everything about the game of golf.  In my life away from Allegheny College, I am the wife of a P.G.A. professional who is the director of golf and the head men’s golf coach at Kent State University.  My life has revolved around the game.  Over the years, I have been fortunate to attend many collegiate golf tournaments, including the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Golf Championship for many years.  I have also accompanied my husband to PGA golf tournaments, including the Masters, the Ryder Cup, the PGA Tour Championship, and The (British) Open several times.  Knowing my love of the game, President Mullen asked me to present golfing legend Arnold Palmer with his honorary degree at Commencement in May 2012.

— Holly Ramey