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By Amy Heggen
A new permanent gallery in Feinberg Library will ensure that the Holocaust will never be forgotten at SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Douglas and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust Memorial Gallery will be dedicated in a 4 p.m. ceremony and reception Monday, Nov. 5. It is being named after Professor Emeritus and College Historian Douglas Skopp and his wife, Evelyne, a former assistant registrar at the college.
The gallery establishment and naming is the result of efforts by alumni and friends of the college, who have given more than $25,000 to put in place the Douglas R. Skopp Endowment for the History Department and to fund the Skopp Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust, an annual contest that challenges students in all disciplines to submit original works that commemorate the tragedy.
Doug has been studying Nazi Germany for decades now.
“He spent a lifetime courageously doing research on the Holocaust in an effort to find the ways in which we can be more ethical beings,” said Dr. E. Thomas Moran, the director of the Institute for Ethics in Public Life and a colleague and friend of Doug’s for more than 40 years.
Those wishing to contribute to these efforts to help history students and to commemorate the Holocaust may give to the Douglas R. Skopp Endowment for the History Department and the Skopp Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust. For more information, contact Anne Hansen at 800-964-1889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That research most recently resulted in the publication of the novel “Shadows Walking,” a 451-page exploration of a Nazi mind. The book is now being taught in a number of high school and college classes.
Doug also instituted the Days of Remembrance at SUNY Plattsburgh, an annual program that has commemorated the Holocaust for more than 20 years now.
“The Douglas and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust Memorial Gallery will now be a permanent home for the commemoration,” said Dr. Jonathan Slater, the coordinator of the Judaic Studies program and associate professor of communications at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Beyond Doug’s work on issues related to the Holocaust, both he and Evelyne are known for their dedication to the campus.
Evelyne served in the college’s Registrar’s Office for nearly 30 years and returned to volunteer after her retirement.
"Evelyne Skopp is a one of the college's very best,” College Registrar Michael Walsh said. “From her working days as the assistant registrar to her present volunteer duties in the Registrar's Office, she has always conducted herself in a warm, thoughtful and efficient manner.
“Presently, when she volunteers in the office each Monday, the staff looks forward to her friendship and humor, plus all the work she can get done in a short amount of time. She is remarkable."
Meanwhile, students and faculty salute Doug for his teaching ability. For instance, Joe DeSalvo, a 1989 SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus and history major, is grateful for the way Doug included his students in his lessons.
“He is skilled at creating a learning environment that’s interactive between student and teacher. He doesn’t teach at you; he includes students and makes them feel like valuable contributors to the learning environment,” DeSalvo said.
Colleen Lemza, an assistant professor of public relations at SUNY Plattsburgh and a close friend of Doug and Evelyne, said she found inspiration in Doug’s ability to teach and provide guidance without judging.
“Doug inspired me as a teacher; he was so passionate about his students. I am thankful for and cherish Doug and Evelyne’s friendship and guidance. SUNY Plattsburgh is a better place because of them,” Lemza said.
Because of Doug’s influence on so many students, DeSalvo and alumnus Norman Radow ’78 launched a fundraising effort to ensure the Skopp History Fund and the Skopp Competition on the Theme of the Holocaust would be permanently endowed. The College Council responded to the success of this project by commending the establishment and naming of the gallery.
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