American Holidays Series: Halloween & Thanksgiving

November 18th,2021 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Professor/Instructor/Speaker: Andrew Roth,Ph.D.

What are "the common objects of our love" – those things St. Augustine said bind a people into a nation? What are the things people celebrate? In the American Holidays series, Jefferson Scholar-in-Residence Andrew Roth continues his exploration of those things Americans love in common. In this episode, American Holidays explores America's Fall Festivals – "Boo, it's Halloween" and "Thank you", it's Thanksgiving. Halloween – what are its roots? What is Allhallowtide, how does it connect to the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain and why "trick or treat"? Thanksgiving – what really happened in 1619 in Virginia and 1621 at Plymouth Colony? Who was Sara Josepha Hale – the 19th century Martha Stewart – and Lydia Maria Child, who wrote to "Grandfather's house we go", and how did President Franklin Roosevelt set Thanksgiving's date? All of this is on Thursday, November 18th at 4:00 PM. REMEMBER: If you missed previous episodes that's okay because there are NO PREREQUISITES. Each episode stands alone.


 This event will be live streamed on our Facebook page and made available on YouTube afterwards.



Andrew Roth,Ph.D.
Scholar-in-Residence, Jefferson Educational Society

As a Scholar-in-Residence at the Jefferson Educational Society (JES), Roth is working with his colleagues to enhance the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy by including an academically oriented research component to the program. At the JES, Roth is also doing research on and preparing presentations about “1968: The Far Side of the Moon and the Birth of the Culture Wars”, which is a component of a larger research project on “The American Story: What Binds Us Together as Americans.” Previous work at the JES has included presentations on “Xander Hamilton: From St. Kitts to Weehawken to Hip-Hop Hit: The Life of Alexander Hamilton”; “George Washington: Primus Inter Pares”; “On Leadership: Towards a Practical Theory of Leadership”; “An Unlikely Trio: Washington, Lincoln and The Jesuits”. Roth also teaches graduate level leadership courses  on “Leadership: Theory and Practice” and “Leading Change: The Leadership Challenge.” Lastly, he works with independent colleges on strategic visioning, strategic planning and enrollment management.


In 2016-17, Roth served as the Interim-President of St. Bonaventure University leading the transition from Sr. Margaret Carney to Dr. Dennis DePerro. During his brief tenure, he helped the University implement its strategic plan, created an Operational Efficiency Task Force to address systemic budget issues, fostered significant conversations on campus about the University’s identity, oversaw an increase in enrollment, approved the consolidation of student support services, initiated two campus beautification projects, and instituted Martin Luther King day as an observed holiday.

Previously, he served as president of Notre Dame College, from 2003 until his retirement in June 2014, upon which he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his leadership and was named President-Emeritus. During his presidency, Notre Dame College experienced a transformational growth that became the subject of three separate doctoral dissertations. At Notre Dame, in addition to establishing a number of intercollegiate athletic programs, Roth established a Nursing program, an Academic Support Center for students with learning differences, an Abrahamic Center to foster inter-faith dialog, a “Books That Changed the World” discussion forum, and other academic programs.


Prior to Notre Dame College, Roth served for almost thirty years at Mercyhurst University (nee College), where he was a tenured faculty member; a coach – he founded the women’s soccer team; and for over twenty years a senior administrator: Director of Admissions, VP for Enrollment, Vice-President of Academic Affairs, and Dean of the College.

Roth holds degrees from John Carroll University, Case Western Reserve University, Gannon University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also engaged with various civic organizations in Cleveland and Erie. When not working on his various projects, he enjoys reading, working out, and cycling on Presque Isle.  He is married to retired banker Judy Owens Roth; they have three children and seven grandchildren.