Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society Hosting Historical Conference on John F. Kennedy


Celebrating the Ninetieth Birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy” at 7 p.m. May 3 in the University Center Ballroom at Southeast Missouri State University. 

This event is free and open to the public. 

Three Kennedy experts will discuss the life, presidency, and assassination of the former president.  Dr. J. Christopher Schnell, professor of history at Southeast, will present “The Early Life of John F. Kennedy.”  Dr. James Giglio of Missouri State University will present “The Presidency of John F. Kennedy,” and Kenn Thomas of University of Missouri-St. Louis will discuss conspiracy theories in his presentation, “The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

Schnell has been a history professor at Southeast Missouri State University since 1970.  His areas of expertise include presidential history, urban history, and modern American history.  Throughout his career, Schnell has published 61 articles, 30 reviews, and 56 scholarly papers, many of which have featured John F. Kennedy.  In addition, Schnell is a broadcaster on “Public Forum” on Channel 5 and on “Going Public” on Southeast Public Radio.  Schnell earned his bachelor of arts degree in radio-television-speech in 1965 and his bachelor of arts degree in history in 1966 from Kansas State University.  He earned a master of arts degree in history in 1968 from University of Missouri-Kansas City and his doctoral degree in history in 1972 from Kansas State University.  Schnell has been the faculty advisor of the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Phi Alpha Theta since 1993; he also held this role from 1973 to 1983.

Giglio has been a professor of history at Missouri State University since 1968.  His areas of expertise include presidential history and modern American history. Giglio has published seven books, 38 articles, and 53 book reviews.  He also has presented 42 papers at professional conferences.  Many of his publications and presentations focused on John F. Kennedy’s life and presidency.  Giglio graduated from Kent State University in 1961 with a bachelor of arts degree in history and in 1964 with a master of arts degree in history. Giglio earned his doctoral degree in history from The Ohio State University in 1968. 

Thomas is the senior manuscript specialist at the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is a popularizer of conspiracy theories.  He is the editor and publisher of Steamshovel Press, a parapolitical conspiracy magazine.  Thomas has written numerous books on conspiracy topics, including two on John F. Kennedy and his assassination.  Thomas graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a bachelor of arts degree in English and speech communications in 1980 and a master of arts degree in English in 1988.       The Phi Alpha Theta International Honor Society was founded by Nels Andrew Cleven on March 17, 1921, at the University of Arkansas.  The Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Southeast Missouri State University was established in 1946.  The purpose of Phi Alpha Theta and its chapters is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.  Phi Alpha Theta seeks to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by its members in a variety of ways. 

For more information, contact Dr. Chris Schnell at (573) 651-2705.