February 16, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Kasmira Smith, Student Intern

VSU’s Dr. John Dunn Earns Amicus Poloniae Award



VALDOSTA — Dr. John Dunn, a professor in the Department of History at Valdosta State University, was recently awarded the 2021 Amicus Poloniae Award by the Polish American Historical Association.
The Polish American Historical Association, founded in 1942, is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture. The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of the Polish and Polish American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish American community.
Dunn joined VSU as an adjunct professor in 1997. He was promoted to professor in 2012 and later served as department head from 2016 to 2019.
VSU’s relationship with Poland began when Dr. Sebastian Bartos, a Poland native, was hired as a tenure-track professor of medieval history. Bartos encouraged Dunn to launch the Department of History’s first study abroad program in partnership with the University of Gdańsk for a trip to Poland in 2018.
Dunn later met Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdańsk’s promoter of international connections and associate professor of history.
“Through her we have produced several on-site and virtual study abroad programs, exchanged professors, and helped students at both universities to get a better sense of each other’s culture,” Dunn said.
Dunn continued VSU's partnership through the Louie A. Brown Visiting International Scholars Program. He sponsored two visiting professors, Mazurkiewicz in 2018 and Pitor Derengowski in 2019, both of who taught history courses at VSU.
Dunn most recently served as a senior visiting professor at the University of Gdańsk from October to December 2021. He enjoyed the experience and shared an especially memorable moment with one of his students.
“When a student uncovered that I liked cats and collect postage stamps made in Poland, she brought me a Polish stamp from 1964 depicting a cat,” he said.
Dunn’s favorite course to teach is Eccentrics in American history. He recently taught it at the University of Gdańsk and will offer it to VSU students online in Summer 2022.
“I’d like to one day create a class that would connect VSU and University of Gdańsk students together,” he added.
Dunn conducts research on military affairs in Egypt, Poland, and China. His recent publications have included research about monetary policy and numismatic iconography.
“I have yet to achieve what some earlier award winners accomplished,” he shared, citing a desire to continue learning and teaching others about Polish and Polish American history and culture. “I must strive to keep up my efforts to help VSU students learn about this fascinating country.”
The Department of History has an upcoming three-week study abroad program in Poland in May. Students who are interested in this experience should contact Dunn at jdunn@valdosta.edu to learn more.
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