Matt Walsh holds a BA in History from Penn State University, an MA in History and MS in Education from Duquesne University, and a PhD in History from Iowa State University. He has been with DMACC since 2009.
Walsh is passionate about history, and his students take note. Urban Campus students have voted him “most inspiring professor.” “People are quite interesting,” Walsh said. “My history classes focus on the human element, and I do not test students on a single date.”
Walsh not only teaches history; he writes and preserves it. He documented the experiences of refugees through oral history interviews, which are now stored in an archive. He authored the book The Good Governor: Robert Ray and the Indochinese Refugees of Iowa (2017), covering late Governor Robert Ray’s resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees after the Vietnam War. It received the Shambaugh Award for Best book on Iowa history from the State Historical Society of Iowa. His article “Iowa SHARES and the Cambodian Refugees” won the Mills Noun Award for best article on Iowa history from the State Historical Society. The Iowa History Journal’s May 2019 issue featured Walsh’s piece “Lost Flyboys” which covered two Iowa airmen’s experiences bombing Nazi-controlled Europe.
Walsh often presents his research at conferences, libraries, universities, and social clubs across the state. He also serves as director of DMACC’s “War and the Human Experience Speaker Series.” The program tries to understand the many ways warfare has influenced people’s lives. His efforts have brought to DMACC a Medal of Honor winner, Schindler’s List and Auschwitz survivor, and highly decorated Vietnam War helicopter pilot. He has been a proud supporter and organizer of DMACC’s Black History Month events since 2009.
“DMACC welcomes all learners and is quite diverse,” Walsh said. “The unique backgrounds of our students spark great conversations on controversial historical topics. As a community college, we emphasize community. Guest speakers from Iowa and beyond share their stories at DMACC. Students are encouraged to discuss life experiences and connect their personal stories to the past.”
As for other claims to fame, Walsh is an avid kayaker and worked a few years for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, he says, “I have never eaten a salad or drank a cup of coffee in my life. I have gone this long, so why try now?”
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