Named fund honors Ambrosius, supports future generations of history students

Lloyd Ambrosius

For those who studied American history at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln between the late 1960s to 2010s, it’s likely they may know Lloyd Ambrosius, professor emeritus of history.

Nebraska alumni Kristin Ahlberg and Phil Myers have helped cement the fond memories many people have for Ambrosius’ dedication to teaching and mentoring others in a newly named endowed fund in his honor. They encourage others to help recognize him as well.

Ahlberg and Myers studied at Nebraska at separate times but had the good fortune of meeting each other through mutual Husker graduate school friends in 1999. They were married in Lincoln in 2003, and were then off to Washington, D.C., to put their hard-earned educations to work. In 2018, they welcomed their son, John Ahlberg Myers.

They have established the Lloyd Ambrosius Graduate Student Support Fund with a gift of $50,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation. To complement Ambrosius’ scholarly interests and expertise, the fund allows the Department of History to provide annual awards to support graduate students who wish to pursue research in areas including American politics, foreign relations and international policy.

Ahlberg, who served as Ambrosius’ teaching assistant for many semesters, was able to tell Ambrosius about the new fund during a somewhat surprise Zoom meeting.

“This is to honor everything you’ve done for us and for generations of students,” said Ahlberg from her home in Alexandria, Virginia. “It was critical for me, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, to have funding to help pay tuition and to conduct my research throughout the United States. Phil and I are now in a position to help other students, and we could think of no other person we’d want to honor in this sort of way than you.”

Ambrosius, who admits he was pondering the reasons why he was invited to the Zoom meeting, said he couldn’t think of a nicer gift.

“The real reward in being a member of the faculty is to have great students and great colleagues, so I have been blessed over the years,” he said. “Thank you so much. I’m deeply moved.

“My best speculation (about the meeting) was that something wonderful was happening to the history department. It didn’t occur to me that it would be this particular gift that would be so wonderful.”

James Le Sueur, Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations and chair of the Department of History, told Ambrosius that the new fund is a tribute to his career successes as a scholar and teacher.

“You’re widely missed in the department, and this is a way to keep your legacy going and so that other students will enjoy the benefits of having awards from this prestigious fund,” Le Sueur said. “It’s a great thing to do for someone who’s made an impact on their life. It’s a really, truly honorable thing to do for a university professor, too.”

Ambrosius, who was the first recipient of the Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professorship of International Relations, has published many works on American foreign relations. His scholarship in international history has focused on President Woodrow Wilson and German-American relations.

He received a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1967 before starting at Nebraska U in that same year. Beginning in 1972, he served as a visiting professor in Europe three times, twice as a Fulbright professor in Germany and once as the Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History at University College in Dublin, Ireland.

Throughout his career, several European and U.S. universities have invited him to deliver lectures on U.S. foreign policy issues as he worked to promote better transatlantic understanding. He is former chair of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues, a preeminent speakers series in higher education located at UNL.

Myers has known Ambrosius since the late 1970s when he attended elementary school and Cub Scouts with Ambrosius’ sons.

“Lloyd’s commitment to the Department of History and its people is significant — from serving in a variety of leadership roles and teaching all levels of students,” Myers said. “His students and advisees have benefited from his wise counsel and unfailing support.”

Meyers is a teacher at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He has taught classes in the International Baccalaureate program, including ones on Latin American history, the theory of knowledge, and topics on 20th-century history. He has also taught courses in world history and U.S. government. A graduate of Lincoln Southeast High School, he received a bachelor’s degree in history from Lawrence University, a master’s degree in European history from UNL and a Master of Arts in teaching from SUNY‒Binghamton.

Ahlberg met Ambrosius in 1997 when as a first-year graduate student she took his diplomatic history survey class. He was also her adviser during both her master’s and doctorate degree programs.

Ahlberg is a historian in the Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State. As Assistant to the General Editor/Lead Historian, she has compiled or co-compiled 10 volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series and is the author of “Transplanting the Great Society: Lyndon Johnson and Food for Peace,” a monograph based on her doctoral dissertation. Ahlberg graduated from St. Croix High School in Solon Springs, Wisconsin, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science, summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She has a Master of Arts in U.S. History and a Ph.D. in diplomatic, military and international history from UNL.

Other individuals impacted by Ambrosius’ teaching and mentorship may also support the Lloyd Ambrosius Graduate Student Support Fund by contributing any amount, which will help increase the endowment and assist more students. Gifts to the fund may be made online or by contacting Steve Allen, director of development, at 402-458-1140.

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