Saturday, September 23, 2023

Heidi Schneider Roupp

Pampa High School Class of 1958



As a fourth generation descendent of Swiss settlers in Pampa, Heidi Schneider Roupp graduated in 1958 from Pampa High School. Her great grandparents, Alex and Lena Schneider immigrated to the Panhandle before Pampa was founded to manage a ranch headquarters for British land developers. Their daughter Margaret was the first girl of European descent born here. Alex Schneider, Jr. and his wife Lottie built the new Schneider Hotel during the oil boom which became a mecca for Panhandle travelers. Alex Jr.'s reputation as a superb hotel manager who spoke six languages fluently enabled him to defeat Conrad Hilton to become President of the Texas Hotel Association.


As the daughter of Paul and Christine Schneider, Heidi's earliest memories were of life as an only child in a hotel of adults during World War II. Her memories were shaped by guests like M.K. Brown and employees like Stella Reynolds and Noah Harris, a world of people of different races, from all walks of life, all sorts of cultural and religious traditions. Following World War II Heidi acquired her basic education in the Pampa Public Schools. Mr. Knox Kinard, Pampa's superintendent, hired a remarkable staff of teachers. Heidi developed and extended her interests in speech and drama in high school because of a dedicated, talented drama teacher. Helen Schafer continually coaxed, prodded, and demanded the very best work from each of her students. Her students discovered creative talents blossomed with practice. Heidi learned to be independent, bumping along on scouting adventures in a second hand school bus driven by Tuffy (Marian Osborne). Little did Howard Graham know that his history class had sparked an interest that later would become a career. Heidi joined the Thespians and was inducted into the National Honor Society her junior year. By her senior year her teachers had given her skills that shaped her future.


Heidi's maternal grandfather, Joe S. Jackson advised her to choose a career worthy of a lifetime of hard work because more often than not, doing challenging work led to a satisfying, interesting life. Educated women in 1958 were hired as teachers and nurses or office managers. Teaching speech and drama seemed the right choice. Her mother Christine worked as receptionist for Drs. Frank Kelley and Raymond Laycock to finance four years of undergraduate education. Family friends reinforced her mother's belief that a college education was essential. Heidi received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming in 1962. Had it not been for all those scouting trips, she might not have attracted the attention of her future husband David Kent Roupp, a skier, mountaineer, and American historian. The couple moved to Aspen, Colorado, where David taught American history and led Aspen students on wilderness expeditions as part of the school program. Heidi first taught drama and social studies. She led Colorado's first student exchange program to Japan. Later with research historians and teaching colleagues in schools and universities, she pioneered the frontiers of world history, a subject inspired by an American need to understand the historic context of globalization as well as the need to understand multiple perspectives at work within a changing society. This work became the basis of world history standards now adopted by 75% of the states and an Advanced Placement test in world history which will be taken by an estimated 50,000 students in 2002.


Heidi received her first academic fellowship as a result of research she did at the Lovett Memorial Library. In the comfortable old balcony space, she sifted through yellowing stacks of Time and Life magazines to analyze why individual Japanese soldiers in 1945 retreated to the jungles of the Philippines to fight for another 35 years. Their stories became the basis of a successful research proposal to the Japan Foundation in 1985. Other fellowships from the Korea Foundation, the Aspen Institute, Fulbright, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation followed.


She studied art history at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, taught world history to teachers in Lithuania, studied international law, comparative politics, economics as the academic basis of a trip around the world with Semester at Sea. She received a Master's Degree in East Asian Studies in 1995 from Columbia University. Since then she has written numerous articles, presented research in Europe and the United States, authored or edited a dozen books on world history. She is President of the World History Association. Heidi has served as world history consultant for the Air Force Academy, the Library of Congress, and more recently CNN's Millennium series. She was awarded the American Historical Association's first Beveridge Family Teaching Prize for her efforts to end a century of separation between teachers and professors. She organized the first summer study program in the United States for professors and teachers as equal colleagues and participants in a study of world history. She appears in Who's Who in American Education. Her current efforts, through a grant by the National Endowment of the Humanities, are to develop three program models for undergraduates preparing to be world history teachers which will be disseminated to other colleges and universities. Inspired by stories of immigrants and travelers told at the Schneider Hotel, Heidi's career developed from lessons learned long ago in Pampa, Texas.


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