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Faculty Spotlight: Donahue

Join us every month as we shine a spotlight on one of our excellent faculty members!  This month, Prof. Donahue.

Where did you call home growing up?

I grew up in the western suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.  Although I have lived in either North Carolina or Virginia for many years now, I've always considered myself a New Englander at heart (and yes, I still have the accent and a "wicked" interest in Boston sports to prove it!).

What's your favorite class to teach?

I would have to say that the Roman history course is still my favorite class to teach.  The Romans are close enough to us to be understandable, yet they are so different from us that they force us to step outside of our own world with the result that we can learn a lot about both them and ourselves.  The Alexander the Great class would have to be a close second.  Students are always amazed at all that Alexander was able to accomplish at such a young age.  More importantly, the way he has been fashioned and refashioned throughout history forces students to think more deeply about things like the nature of "greatness" and "conquest."

Do you have any hobbies?

I like to read and hit the local gym.  I also like to travel, especially to Italy where I'll be leading a group of W&M students for the fifth time this summer.  I also recently took up kayaking.  My family and I have had a lot of fun exploring the waterways of James City County and we're hoping to venture beyond the rivers of southeastern Virginia this summer.

What's your favorite thing about W&M?

Certainly the students, who are bright, highly motivated, and just fun to be around.  I would also have to say that not only the students but also pretty much everybody connected with W&M in my experience seems to recognize the College as a special place, one that is committed to bringing out the best in people.  This makes it a very rewarding place to work.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 books would you bring?

Well, lots of choices here, but I suppose that the New Testament and the Norton Anthology of Poetry would be high on the list for what they can teach us about being human, and, of course, the latest edition of Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract (because you just never know when you might have to explain the historical development of the "infield fly rule!").