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Book on University history receives award

by David Bauman - December 10, 2007

A history of the University of Connecticut by emeritus professor Bruce Stave has won the Homer D. Babbidge Jr. Award for 2006.

Established in 1985 by the Association for the Study of Connecticut’s History, the Babbidge Award is given to the scholar judged to have published the best work on a significant aspect of Connecticut’s history during the previous calendar year.

Stave’s book, Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits: Creating the University of Connecticut, 1881-2006, tells the story behind UConn’s rise from a small agricultural college to become the leading public university in New England.

Written in celebration of UConn’s 125th anniversary, the book is organized chronologically by the administrations of UConn’s 13 presidents.

Stave is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History emeritus, and associate editor of The Journal of Urban History, and editor of The Oral History Review.

The award was presented Nov. 3 at the fall meeting of the Association, held this year at the UConn School of Law.

It is the first time an individual has repeated as a winner. Stave was named the 1995 Babbidge Award winner for From the Old Country: An Oral History of European Immigration to America.

Stave’s Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits also was a finalist for the Connecticut Center for the Book Award in Non-Fiction.

Stave’s book “transcends the genre of public history with an incisive examination of the transformation of the University of Connecticut from an agricultural college to a major Research I university, warts and all,” says Nancy Steenburg, a member of the awards committee of the Association for the Study of Connecticut’s History and assistant professor of history at UConn’s Avery Point Campus.

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