Four years ago, Professor Annette Finley-Croswhite assumed the Executive Directorship of this Society after a transition year under the leadership of Jim Dolbow, a former Senate staffer and author.
Annette came to the job with administrative experience as head of the History Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and the prestige of a luminous academic career marked by an active research portfolio and many publications to her credit. Even before she took the ED job, she played an active role in the Society’s Foundation Board, and she presented distinguished papers at our early scholarly panels. From the outset she sought to engage a membership that “looks more like America”.
As our Executive Director, Annette continued her active research and writing within our field of interest, and it was only when her academic thrust gradually moved in other directions that she began to entertain the possibility of stepping down. During her tenure, she enhanced the prestige and impact of the Society by establishing the Harold D Langley Book Prize in the History of Maritime Medicine. She sought out other history organizations – the North American Society for Oceanic History in particular – with which to partner for sponsorship of our annual scholar panels. The Society and Foundation also partnered with the Naval Historical Foundation and the Naval Order of the United States to place historical marker plaques at the Old Naval Hospital in Washington, DC and on the island of Minorca in the Mediterranean Sea.
Only when shifting academic interests, the demands of family and of an increasingly busy academic life intruded did Annette reluctantly decide to step down. She will remain on our Board of Directors, and she promises that her “special project” will be helping make our Society a more diverse and engaging enterprise. Thus, we do not say, “Farewell”, but, “Bravo Zulu!”, and we look forward to retaining her energy and wise counsel for years to come.
©2018 The Society for the History of Navy Medicine