University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

News Release Dec. 2002

Joel Wurl, Immigration History Research Center, (612) 625-0553,

Immigration History Research Center names Juhan Simonson to endowment advisory committee

The Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota is pleased to announce that Juhan Simonson has agreed to serve on the Honorary Committee for "Stories Worth Remembering," its Endowment Campaign. Simonson is former president of the Estonian American National Council and served as director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs in the New Jersey State government. He has been associated with the IHRC since the 1980s, has visited the Center a number of times, and participated in its Baltic Diaspora Reference Guide Planning Conference in April 1996. He is very familiar with IHRC operations and goals and the Estonian American collections housed at the Center.

Other committee members include Michael Novak of the AmericanEnterprise Institute, Stephen Briganti of the Statue ofLiberty/Ellis Island Foundation, authors Gay Talese and StudsTerkel, and journalist Helen Thomas. The honorary committee isproviding advice for the IHRC's campaign to create an endowment thatwill ensure the continuation of its work.

For over 30 years, the internationally renowned IHRC has been the leading US resource for documentation, preservation, and promotion of American immigration history. The goal of the Stories Worth Remembering campaign is long-term funding for research and scholarship, archival services, and community outreach. Gifts will also support a chair in the history department, a professor who will teach immigration history and also direct the IHRC.

In partnership with the Estonian American community, the IHRC proposes to establish an Estonian American Studies Fund. The Center's Estonian American collection is a growing assortment of materials, mainly published by national and regional associations of post-World War II Estonian communities. The Estonian American Fellowship, the chief goal of the Fund, will provide support for the efforts of a qualified graduate student to organize,promote, and undertake research in the collection.

Simonson expressed his "hope for favorable response from the Estonian American community regarding the IHRC's ongoing efforts to promote immigration history and research, and particularly its initiatives to preserve, expand, and foster the use of Estonian American materials." Simonson will provide significant assistance to the campaign, according to IHRC Director Rudolph Vecoli.