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History honors society sells books in memory of professor


Phi Alpha Theta, the history department’s honor society, tabled outside of the Nebraskan Student Union to sell boxes of books. Their hope was to raise money for a scholarship.

According to the Phi Alpha Theta president, they were selling books in honor of Roy Koepp, a UNK professor who died a little over a year ago.

“When he passed, it was pretty sudden and it hit us all pretty hard,” said Will Stoutamire, an assistant professor in UNK’s History Department.

Koepp was a visiting assistant professor at UNK from 2011-18. He helped the history department to teach students about the World War II era, and he was admired by many of his students and colleagues.

In 2018, Koepp took a tenure track position teaching history at Eastern New Mexico University. A few years later, Koepp died on September 26, 2021.

A little while after his death, Koepp’s wife contacted Stoutamire, who was friends with Koepp during his time at UNK. 

She offered Stoutamire Koepp’s personal library as she was cleaning out his office. Stoutamire said he agreed to take in the books, but was unsure of what to do with such a large collection. 

“It was our previous chair that reached out and said, ‘you know, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a scholarship in his honor,’” Stoutamire said.

Koepp was known in the department for taking students to study abroad, so the scholarship will act as a starter fund for history students to take up study abroad opportunities.

“We felt it would be nice to keep his memory alive,” said Torsten Homberger, the Phi Alpha Theta adviser.

The Phi Alpha Theta students sold books in October outside of the Union, but they are working on organizing another sale. Homberger and Stoutamire are both working with the UNK Foundation to officially offer the scholarship. The official date when the scholarship will be offered has not been finalized. 

“(It) depends on how fast we can sell the books,” Stoutamire said. 

Once the scholarship is finalized, the group hopes to take their final funds raised through the book sales and add to it through other fundraisers. 

Phi Alpha Theta wants to continue Koepp’s legacy.

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