Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom


Nick Mariano

Chicago Educator Wins Nation’s Top History Educator Award

CHICAGO, June 10, 2004 The History Channel and National History Day are proud to announce that the recipient of the 2004 Outstanding History Educator Award is Lisa Oppenheim, associate director of the Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC) in Chicago.

The award is presented annually at the National History Day Awards Ceremony by The History Channel to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the improvement of history education. Oppenheim works with students, teachers, and parents in the city of Chicago and suburban counties. She has enriched classroom resources and worked with the community to preserve historic sites. The History Channel will award Oppenheim a monetary prize of $5,000 as well as supplying the CMHEC with an extensive video library.

The awards ceremony will take place on June 17 and will wrap-up a week of activities in which more than 2,000 student scholars from across the country present projects to national judges for top history honors and awards. The Awards Ceremony presentation is available via a live Web cast at HistoryChannel.com.

“Lisa Oppenheim epitomizes the type of educator who is bringing history alive in the classroom and the community. We are delighted to join National History Day in presenting this award recognizing her creativity, talent, and hard work,” said Dr. Libby O’Connell, Historian-in-Residence, The History Channel.

Oppenheim’s commitment to improving education for students who face the most challenges is reflected in the growth of the program and the diversity of its participants. More than 17,000 Chicago area students complete projects for the Chicago Metro History Fair and National History Day annually.

As director of CMHEC’s teacher professional development and curriculum projects, Oppenheim relies on close interaction with Chicago area teachers and school leaders to shape the educational programs and services of the organization. She coordinates CMHEC’s involvement in several grants, including projects funded by the NEH and the Chicago Public Schools’ Teaching American History grant. CMHEC’s inquiry-based history education programs prioritize service for inner-city schools.

“With Lisa’s leadership, CMHEC has developed one of the strongest reputations in the Chicago area for high quality history education programming and teacher professional development,” Crystal Johnson, the executive director of CMHEC said. “Lisa is among NHD’s best-kept secrets if other city and state programs used Lisa’s work as a model, the organization would feel the benefits.”

Throughout her years of involvement in history education, Oppenheim has proved her commitment to passing on the importance of history to children and fellow colleagues. Her passion for historical inquiry and the project-based approach to history education promoted by National History Day resonates not only with students and teachers in Chicago, but throughout the country.

“Ms. Oppenheim has worked tirelessly to involve students, teachers and academics in National History Day,” said Dominic A. Pacyga, Ph.D., professor of history at Columbia College in Chicago.

Researching, presenting, and preserving local history are top priorities for Oppenheim. Because of her dedication to helping young people and the public understand their community’s rich heritage, Oppenheim has worked diligently to gain support for materials, activities, and programs that will help students and others investigate their past and gain skills for the future.

Oppenheim’s teaching does not stop with her impact in Chicago’s classrooms, but also extends to educating the public. She has been involved in several public history programs, including a film on the professional life of Saul Alinsky, a radical who pioneered community organizing in Chicago’s old stockyards neighborhood during the 1930’s. Oppenheim contributed to Women Building Chicago, 1770- 1990: A Biographic Dictionary. She also holds positions on the Illinois Labor History Society board and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council, and works with the Historic Printers Row Neighbors.

National History Day is not just one day, but a yearlong education organization that makes history come alive through educator professional development and active student learning. Through publications and education programs, National History Day trains teachers to move students beyond textbooks and expand their classrooms to include libraries, museums and archives. Nationwide 40,000 currently use National History Day curriculum materials. The program received the Charles Frankel Prize for Public Programming and collaborated with the National Archives to create “Our Documents,” a national initiative on American history, civics, and service. Information about the Outstanding Educator Award and National History Day is available at www.nationalhistoryday.org.

Now reaching more than 86 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel, “Where the Past Comes Alive,” brings history to life in a powerful manner and provides an inviting place where people experience history personally and connect their own lives to the great lives and events of the past. The History Channel received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s “Save Our History” campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. The History Channel Web site is located at www.historychannel.com.
About Loyola University Chicago

Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is among the largest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, which includes 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s nine schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 69 undergraduate majors, 77 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees, and three professional degree programs. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities” in its annual publications. For more information, please visit our web site at www.luc.edu.




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