Meet the board members of the UCSB History Associates below.

Mary Standlee

President

J. Sears McGee

Vice-President

J. Sears McGee

Sears McGee joined the UCSB History Department in 1971 and has served twice as department chair (1900-95, 2006-07). He joined the History Associates Board a few years after this organization was established and has served as its president and (currently) its vice-president. He has given two talks at History Associates events (“Henry VIII: Hero or Monster,” and “Queen Elizabeth I Goes to the Movies”). His research concerns early modern Britain (especially religion and politics in England from the 1590s through the civil wars of the 1640s), and his courses deal with early modern Britain and, more widely, early modern Europe from the High Middle Ages to the French Revolution. He won the Academic Senate’s teaching prize for the social sciences in 1989, and he co-directed a program of professional development for K-12 teachers in our region from 1997-2005. His wife Marni writes books for children (see marnimcgee.com), and they have two children and three grandchildren.

Nancy Hofbauer

Secretary

Elizabeth Digeser

Treasurer

Photo of Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Susan Miles Gulbransen

Member
Susan Miles Gulbransen

Susan Miles Gulbransen received her M.A. in History at UCSB in 1966. After 21 years writing for the News-Press, she now free lances and teaches writing at Santa Barbara Writers Conference and through SBCC Adult Ed. A community volunteer, she co-founded the Granada Theater restoration project and the S.B. Book & Author Festival and has served on several boards. In 2004, she was named Woman of the Year and in 2003 received the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award. She, like every other writer in California, is now working on a novel.

Monica Orozco

Member

Monica Orozco

Monica Orozco is a second-generation native of the Santa Barbara-Goleta area. She earned her doctoral degree from the History department at UCSB. Her field of research is Mexican history, especially the issues of Catholic and Protestant evangelization efforts. Monica is proud to say that as a result of her apprenticeship under Hal Drake as a graduate student and her work experience, she has become an honorary historian of the Ancient World. She joined the History Associates in 1997, while still a graduate student, and has served as a student representative, secretary, president, and treasurer. She joined the Board of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library in 2004, and was named Director of the Archive-Library in October, 2009. Monica was formerly an editor and abstracter for the data base Historical Abstracts (Ebsco Publishing). She is teaching at Westmont College as a visiting scholar and for several years served as an adjunct lecturer in the History department at UCSB While consumed by all things historical, Monica devotes what little time she has remaining to quilting.

Hal Drake

Member

Hal Drake

Hal Drake taught Roman history at UCSB from 1970 until his retirement in 2008. A specialist in the Late Empire, he is the author of Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance (2000) and studies of Christian historiography and late Roman political thought. As chair of the History department in 1988, he watched in awe as Dick Cook single-handedly talked the legendary UC bureaucracy into creating the History Associates, and he has served on the Board since its inception. He currently holds an appointment as Research Professor at UCSB and works on “any damn thing I please.”

Karen Anderson

Member

Karen Anderson

Mary Louise Days

Member

Mary Louise Days

 A Santa Barbara native, Mary Louise Days received degrees in history from Santa Barbara City College and UCSB. Her minor was architectural history. She was employed by the City of Santa Barbara Planning/Community Development Department for over thirty-five years. This included a number of years as the City’s first urban historian and staff to the Historic Landmarks Commission. She has published numerous articles on historical topics and has been a frequent adviser to UCSB’s Public Historical Studies program. A consulting historian and researcher, she serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Citizens Planning Association and the Santa Barbara Conservancy. She is a past president of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Travel is her main hobby.

Sheila Lodge

Member

Sheila Lodge

Born at home on her parents’ dairy in Arcadia, CA, Sheila is a life-long Californian except for 2 1/2 years in Annapolis, MD, where she taught school and did social work. She returned to California in 1950 and came to Santa Barbara in 1952. Sheila served on the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission from 1973-1975, the City Council from 1975-1981, and as mayor from 1981-1993. An incurable public policy wonk, she is back on the Planning Commission where she started her civic life 36 years ago.

Richard Oglesby

Member

Richard Oglesby

Prof. Richard Oglesby taught the history of California and the West at UCSB from 1965 until his retirement in 1993. During that time, he served as chair of the History department from 1973-76, director of Summer Sessions from 1978-81, and acting dean and dean of Instructional Development from 1981-89. He is a past President of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historical Preservation and an active member of the Santa Barbara Historical Society and the Westerners. He has delivered talks to the History Associates on several occasions, most recently in March 2009, when he spoke at the De La Guerra adobe on Stone Architecture in Santa Barbara which he helped prepare for the Santa Barbara Conservancy.

Danielle Swiontek

Member

Danielle Swiontek

Danielle Swiontek received her PhD in History from UCSB with a dissertation entitled With ballots and pocketbooks: women, labor, and reform in Progressive California. She currently teaches in the History department at Santa Barbara City College.

Jo Beth Van Gelderen

Member

Jo Beth Van Gelderen

After a career as a mother and businesswoman, Dr. Jo Beth Van Gelderen returned to graduate school and received her PhD in History at UCLA in 1966, writing a dissertation on California and the American West. She has been active in numerous Santa Barbara organizations, including the Santa Barbara Historical Society, Trust for Historic Preservation, the Museums of History, Art and Natural History, and the Chamber Orchestra. These days she devotes her volunteer time to the Wilding Art Museum in Los Olivos and the History Associates, where her annual challenge grant has been a prime factor in the success of our fundraising efforts. For more than 25 years she has sponsored a fellowship for non-traditional graduate students, now known as the Donald Van Gelderen Memorial Fellowship, to support students like herself who return to graduate study after a career outside academia.

Page last modified: October 27, 2017