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August 12, 2020

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“Visiting” professor presents series at Ada Public Library

Dr. Karl Roider talks about the aftermath of WW I

By Barb Lockard
The future occupation listed next to Karl Roider’s photo in the 1961 Ada High School Yearbook is “history professor.” 

While many high school students divert from their initial career paths, Roider never wavered.  After earning a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s and doctorate in European History from Stanford University, he became a history instructor at Louisiana State University.  He stayed for 45 years, rising to full professor and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences before retiring in 2014. 

Back in Ada for three months, Roider is presenting a five-part series on The Aftermath of World War I on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. starting on Sept. 11 and wrapping up on Oct. 9. 

He feels events occurring after the war, have had a significant impact on “what would happen” in the United States and the world.

“This isn’t the first time in the history of our country that we’ve been distrusting of immigrants and concerned about terrorism,” Roider said.  “In the post-World War I period, American citizens were suspicious of Bolsheviks (leaders of the revolutionary working class in Russia) and most Eastern Europeans.  Our country also had a distrust of Germans and the Irish.”

Roider stressed the importance of the Paris Peace Conference (his first presentation) and the relationship between the aftermath of World War I and the origins of current issues in the Middle East.   

If a love of history wasn’t in his DNA, a love of education certainly was.  Roider’s father taught music at Ohio Northern University, while his mother was a mathematics instructor.  He laughed when he said of his five grandchildren, probably just two are interested in history. 

“I’ve said that we probably shouldn’t take any history courses until we reach age 30,” he added.  “I don’t think we realize history’s significance until we’ve experienced it.”  Still, Roider stated that he enjoyed teaching undergraduate courses more than graduate classes.  During his first years at LSU, he taught freshman Western Civilization and an advanced undergraduate class on World War I.

The public is invited to attend The Aftermath of World War I series, which is sponsored by the Ada Public Library and the Ada Historical Society.  Programs are scheduled on the following Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m.:

Sept. 11   The Paris Peace Conference
Sept. 18   The United States
Sept. 25   Russia
Oct. 2       Middle East
Oct. 9       Return to Normalcy

According to Roider, he returns to northwest Ohio from Baton Rouge each fall to visit family, escape hurricane season and enjoy the autumn colors. His siste,r Ruth Roider, owns The Gallery for the Arts on Main Street in Ada. 

Dr. Roider feels it’s fitting that he focuses on World War I in this post-retirement presentation.  The last course he taught at LSU was World War I in Europe and the topic continues to be significant as we attempt to address issues that arise today. 

For more information on The Aftermath of World War I, contact the Ada Public Library at 419-634-5246.