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Out & About: Pitt-Greensburg welcomes St. Clair Lecture speaker | TribLIVE.com
Out & About

Out & About: Pitt-Greensburg welcomes St. Clair Lecture speaker

Shirley McMarlin
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From left: Guest speaker Susan Sommers, a Saint Vincent College history professor, joins Tom Headley of Forward Township and Sharon Smith, president of Pitt-Greensburg, for a photo Feb. 5 during the reception preceding the 2019 St. Clair Lecture, held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
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Joel Sabadasz (left) of Elizabeth Township and George Chambers of Hempfield, president emeritus of Pitt-Greensburg, pose for a photo Feb. 5 during the reception preceding the 2019 St. Clair Lecture, held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
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From left: Donnis Headley of Forward Township joins Westmoreland County Commissioner Chuck Anderson and his wife, Nancy, of Hempfield for a photo Feb. 5 during the reception preceding the 2019 St. Clair Lecture, held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
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Sophia Sommers and her father, Dallas Sommers, pose for a photo Feb. 5 during the reception preceding the 2019 St. Clair Lecture, held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

Historian Susan Sommers visited the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Feb. 5 to delve into the life of a local Revolutionary War figure.

The Saint Vincent College professor of history discussed “Arthur St. Clair: Myth and History” as the 2019 St. Clair Lecture at the Hempfield campus.

The lecture covered the work of William Henry Smith, who compiled a two-volume edition of St. Clair’s public papers in the early 1880s. It seems, Sommers said, that there was little written record of the general’s early life, so Smith “did what many other biographers have done over the centuries — he invented an appropriately noble early life story for a man whose later life certainly seemed heroic.”

Sommers discussed how fact and fiction often blended in the early American ethos, with the nation’s perceived need to find heroes to emulate.

Prior to the well-attended lecture, Pitt-Greensburg President Sharon Smith and other VIPs welcomed Sommers, her husband Dallas and daughter Sophia at a reception and dinner.

Others on hand included former Pitt-Greensburg President George Chambers, Tom and Donnis Headley, Chuck and Nancy Anderson, John Driscoll, Lisa Hays and Joel Sabadasz .

Shirley McMarlin is a
Tribune-Review staff writer.