News Gc President To Explore Historical What Ifs - Garrett College
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Campus News

October 2nd, 2023

GC president to explore historical 'What ifs'

Midcap to tackle topic with Kennedy assassination as historical pivot point


Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, will be October's Joan Crawford Lecture Series presenter with an exploration of counterfactual history

"What if?"

Taken together, they are two of the most provocative words in the English language.

"Almost everyone has had a 'What if?' " moment," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. " 'What if I'd taken that job?' 'What if I'd bought that property before prices skyrocketed?' 'What if I had played the winning lottery number?' We do it all the time."

Midcap – Garrett College's October Joan Crawford Lecture Series presenter – said considering alternate historical outcomes has become an accepted academic field.

"Everyone wonders from time to time how different decisions they might have made would have played out in their personal lives," said Midcap, whose JCLS presentation will take place on Wednesday, October 18th at 6 p.m. in the recital hall of the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College.

"That is also the case on a larger scale," added Midcap. "Seemingly minor changes at the national level could create major changes in long-term history. It's an entire field of study, called counterfactual history."

Midcap's presentation will examine counter-factual history through the prism of one of the 20th century's most impactful events: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"Many historians, as well as just average citizens, consider President Kennedy's assassination as a critical inflection point in American and world history," said Midcap. "And I totally agree with that assessment.

"That leads almost naturally to the next question: How would the world have been different if President Kennedy had survived?" continued Midcap. "Exploring that question will be the primary subject of my presentation."

Midcap has baccalaureate and master's degrees in history as well as a doctorate in education. He taught U.S. History at Chesapeake College prior to assuming the GC presidency in January 2017.

Midcap, however, said advanced degrees and teaching experience aren't required to explore counter-factual history.

"Honestly, an open mind and an active imagination as two prerequisites in counter-factual history," said Midcap. "Of course, solid researching skills make this a richer experience."

Midcap said he hopes his presentation will expand the number of people interested in historical research.

"History can be an exciting and imaginative endeavor," said Midcap. "If participants leave this presentation with a better understanding of the importance of historical research, I'll have accomplished my goal."

Joan Crawford Lecture Series presentations are free and open to the public.