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After beginning his career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in 1956, Dr. Harold (Jim) Sylwester went on to spend 30 years sharing his passionate interest in history with thousands of Central students.
The professor emeritus of history came to campus as an assistant professor in 1969. He climbed the faculty ranks and became a full professor. He taught a number of history classes throughout the years and was involved in several projects that put him in touch with educators from throughout the state and nation. In 1982, for example, he directed “Teaching Global Perspectives,” a summer institute for university professors across the nation funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Similar opportunities dealing with historical topics were funded by such groups as the Missouri Council for the Humanities, National Council for the Humanities, and the U.S. Bicentennial Commission.
Dr. Sylwester had an outstanding record of activity in areas such as committee service, curriculum development, and grant writing. He served as coordinator of assessment from 1987-1993. In 1999, he was named recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Neb.; master’s degree at the University of Oregon, Eugene; and doctorate at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.
Dr. Sylwester and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Kevin and Bradley.