The following was originally published as part of a UTC News Release.
History Department Receives $500,000 Gift
Russell Linnemann Memorial Endowment
The Russell Linnemann Memorial Endowment gives $450,000 for the study of African and African-American history along with the story of the blues. The money, given in perpetuity, is divided into $450,000 to fund ongoing programs and $50,000 to create an account to honor the career of Linnemann and his academic contributions.
The $400,000 will cover travel expenses for students and faculty members to research archives, historic sites or professional conferences as well as an ongoing lecture series. Students also can apply for stipends for internships with local nonprofits. The $50,000 is immediately available to support the program while the endowment matures.
“Through these funds, we are able to create new avenues of financial and mentorship support for current students in the program, expand existing and create new community collaborations, bring award-winning scholars to campus and develop a vibrant interdisciplinary curriculum,” Susan Eckelmann Berghel, director of Africana Studies and associate professor of history.
Known as “The Blues Doctor,” Linnemann joined the UTC faculty in 1970 and taught in the Department of History for 36 years. While regularly teaching courses in Western Civilization, modern European history and African history, his signature courses were on the blues. He loved listening to and talking about the music and was given the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” award in 1999 for his weekly radio program, Blues and More.
The Linnemann endowment was established by William Horace Epstein, president of the Berkeley (Missouri) Lumber Co., Berkeley Homes Inc., Windler Windows & Patio Doors and Restero Corp. He and Linnemann met as undergraduates at Grinnell College in Sussex, England. The endowment is Epstein’s way of honoring his longtime friend.
“The UTC History Department is immensely grateful to William Epstein for this generous gift in honor of his dear friend, Russell J. Linnemann. This memorial endowment and annual fund will be an enduring catalyst for the Africana Studies program, while memorializing Linnemann’s academic legacy in the fields of African and African-American history and the history of the blues,” said Michael D. Thompson, head of the Department of History and UC Foundation associate professor of history.”