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Westminster History Professor Joins Team of Translators for Russian Heiress

Dr. Russell Martin, associate professor of history at Westminster College, recently joined a team of translators who are creating an English-language version of the Web page for Her Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Maria Vladmirova, the current legal heiress to the vacant throne of Russia.

"The website,, contains separate pages outlining the claims of the Grand Duchess to the throne; the laws of succession, and other documents such as press releases and official statements by the Heiress.  It also highlights the news items on the activities and travels of the members of the Imperial Family," Martin said.  "It's a very smart-looking Web page, but it is all in Russian.  I have already translated a large batch of legal texts on the laws of succession, and am moving on to other sections of the webpage."

This is not the first work Martin has done for the Royal Family of Russia.

"My service to them began more than a decade ago, when I gave expert testimony in a deposition in a legal case brought in Canada against someone who had published unhistorical and scurrilous charges against the rights of Grand Duchess Maria's now deceased father, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich," Martin said.  "I have also published articles in encyclopedias on the Royal Family, where I outline the complexities in the Russian succession and make the case for Grand Duchess Maria's rights.  I have also been granted access to archival materials of the Russian Orthodox Church that shines a new light on the questions of the Russian monarchy.  I hope to convert this work into a book that I'll start to write next year.

"My work on the Web page was in many ways aided by Kristin Kronstain, a history student who is studying the Russian language with me as an independent study," Martin said.  "She studied Russian in Moscow last summer, and over the course of this year, her skills with Russian have improved to the point where I felt confident that I could ask her to tackle some of the translation work.  Her help was important to the project and useful, I think, to her since she got a chance to pull her head out of a textbook and actually apply the skills she is working on."

Martin appeared on 'A&E Biography' in a broadcast on Ivan the Terrible as an expert on the controversial ruler.  He is the co-founder of the Muscovite Biographical Database, a Russian-American computerized register based in Moscow of early modern Russian notables.  The Neville Island, Pa., native is not only fluent in Russian, but also reads Old Church Slavonic/Russian, French, German, Latin, and Polish.

Martin, who has been with Westminster College since 1996, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and his master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Kronstain, a junior history major, is a daughter of William and Lorraine Kronstain, Wexford, and a graduate of North Allegheny High School.

Contact at Martin at (724) 946-6254 or e-mail for more information.

Dr. Russell Martin

Classics Professor Presents Research

Dr. Dwight Castro, professor of classics and chair of the Westminster College Religion, History, Philosophy, and Classics Department, recently presented his research, "Ad libitum Latin Composition: A Holistic Approach" at the American Philological Association (APA) in Montreal.

 "This presentation was based on my experience with a Latin class I taught in spring of 2004 and will influence my next offering of this class," Castro said.  "I was one of five presenters at the workshop 'Active Latin in the Classroom.'

"This was the first time in history of the APA that a session on this topic has ever been accepted by the Program Committee," Castro said. "This presentation was based on my own experience with a Latin class I taught in Spring of 2004 and will influence my next offering of this class.  In 2004 I changed my approach to teaching Latin composition to focus more on allowing students to compose, in Latin, short, connected paragraphs on topics of their own choosing, rather than on simply having them translate into Latin the prescribed English passages found in the traditional Latin composition texts.  My presentation focused on this new approach and included not only what I perceive as its strengths, but also certain weaknesses that I plan to address in future offerings of this class."

 Castro, who has been with Westminster College since 1970, earned his undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College and a master's and Ph.D. from Indiana University.

 Contact Castro at (724) 946-7150 or e-mail for more information.

Dr. Dwight Castro

Westminster College Receives $67,000 NSF Grant

estminster College has recently received a $67,000 grant from the National Science Foundation under the "Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement" program.

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International Opera Star to Perform at Westminster College

David Malis, an international opera star, will perform at Westminster College, Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel.

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Westminster College's Faculty Forum Opens with "Genetic Evidence"

Dr. James A. Perkins, professor of English, opens the Westminster College Faculty Forum with "The Case of Jack Burden's Father: The Genetic Evidence" Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 11:30 .m. in Patterson Hall room 311.

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Peace Studies Coffeehouse Features Two Iraq War Vets

Major Scott Mackenzie & Major Michael Teifke

The Westminster College Peace Studies Coffeehouse series features two Iraq War veterans Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 4:15 p.m. in the Berlin Student Lounge of the McKelvey Campus Center.

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Music Education Major to Perform Senior Voice Recital

Alyssa Schomaker, a senior music education major at Westminster College, will perform her soprano vocal recital Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m. in Wallace Memorial Chapel.

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Theatre Students Compete in Festival

Nine students in Westminster College's theatre department participated in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at the Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) held Jan. 2-7 at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Students Investigate Fish Kill in Local Stream

Vanessa Kriley (l) and Melissa Huyeet collect macroinvertebrates

Westminster College students in a Reading the Environment cluster course recently helped solve a mystery of what was killing fish and causing strong odors in McClure Run, a stream that runs through the campus.

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Religion Professor's Review Published

Dr. Bryan Rennie

A review written by Dr. Bryan Rennie, Westminster College Vira I. Heinz professor of religion, will be published in the May issue of The Heythrop Journal.

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