Why Study History at McMurry?
It has been said that good teaching comes down to this simple proposition: To know your subject well, and to be turned on by it. There are hundreds of schools in the country with history programs; why should you come to McMurry? A lot of the answer to that question is the faculty you’ll encounter here. When you take history classes at McMurry, you’ll be taking classes from teachers who are passionate about what they do. All have doctoral degrees from recognized graduate programs and have published original research. They have all received teaching awards of one sort or another. For them, history is not just lists of dry facts about people who are dead, but a vital key to understanding the world we live in today and tomorrow.
In addition to its faculty, the McMurry History Department also offers students the benefits of its association with the McWhiney History Education Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to history education. The Foundation specializes in the history of the Old South, Civil War, and Texas. It maintains an extensive collection of books and documents in those fields housed in the McMurry University library. Through the Texas Frontier Heritage and Cultural Center, the Group also manages the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, a unique site of historic buildings and artifacts located a short distance south of Abilene. I also manages State House Press, which publishes several outstanding titles in American history every year. These resources together make possible McMurry’s new concentration in Heritage and Cultural Tourism from the School of Business, which is also available as a minor for other majors, including history.
What does this all mean for you? It means lots of opportunities for your personal and professional growth, whether you ultimately envisage history as a vehicle for getting a public school teaching certificate, for graduate study, for going to law school, or because you just want to know more about the world around you. Some of the possibilities:
Outstanding students have received awards for their academic work or seen it published, or both. Every spring, the department honors its outstanding graduating senior with its Vernie Newman Award.
A total of four McMurry students participated in a recent Phi Alpha Theta history honors conference, presenting the fruits of their research.
McMurry history classes have included special trips to the Boston area to study the American Revolution and the early whaling industry.
Dr. Don Frazier regularly takes his upper division Civil War class on a week-long tour of Civil War battlefields, from Vicksburg on the Mississippi River to Shiloh, Tennesse. In the spring of 2015, he hosted a tour of World War II battlefields in France and Belgium.
Nor do travels just head east. History students have also visited museums and sites of encounters between white settlers and Native Americans in the Texas Panhandle.
Madison Galle (Eula, TX), Ashley Mayer (New Iberia, LA), and Kenna Hogan (Merkel, TX) pose with internship supervisor Heather Reed, Program Manager at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village. All of the students completed their internships in Buffalo Gap as the capstone experience of their minor in Heritage and Cultural Tourism and presented on their experiences on April 30-May 1 2013. Galle is working in the graduate program in public history at Texas State University. Hogan just finished her first year in the graduate program in international cultural heritage management at the University of Durham, England.