Celebrating 25 Years of High Standards and a Supportive Learning Environment M.A. in History Program
September 21, 2019
On September 21, 2019 the History Department celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the M.A. Program in History with alumni, retired professors, and current faculty and students.
The event began with a walking tour of the Monroe Park Campus led by Professor John Kneebone. Attendees were treated to Professor Kneebone's extensive historical insight into a variety of locations across campus, including Monroe Park, Altria Theatre, the Singleton Center, the Pollak Building, the Cabell Library, the location where the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia was formed, and many more.
At the subsequent luncheon, director of graduate studies Professor Emilie Raymond facilitated a panel discussion featuring Professor George Munro, History M.A. alums Michael Lynch (class of 2001) and Kerry Dahm (class of 2013), and current History M.A. student Peighton Young. Professor Munro described the founding of the program, and how it has grown and thrived over the last twenty-five years.
Discussion topics ranged from the quality and high standards of the program to the important lessons learned as a student. Lynch, Dahm, and Young all agreed that succeeding in the program was and is still challenging. Dahm described a class she took with Professor Crislip as “boot camp” that forced her to reach outside her comfort zone. "There was a lot of work required - one book per class per week was part of it," she said. "The other challenge for me was having to speak up in class and be graded on that."
Both Lynch and Young noted that it was hard to make the leap from history buff to actual historian. This was especially true for Young who, as an art history major, didn't intend to become a historian. She credits Professor Shively for both inspiring and encouraging her to apply to the M.A. program.
In addition to Professor Shively, Professors Joe Bendersky and Sarah Meacham received accolades from the panel. Lynch recalls submitting a paper to Professor Bendersky in which he was told, "I know what they think, but what do you think?" It made Lynch realize that how historians interact with sources is important.
The panel wrapped up by giving their best advice to the current M.A. students enrolled in the program. Professor Munro said, "Study, study, study, but have fun with the people who are going through the program with you. Also, continue to get better." Dahm agreed that the best advice she could give is to support each other. For her, "the comradery was the best."
Young emphasized getting as much experience as you can, especially by doing internships. "Each space provides a different experience," she said. "Start to learn about what you enjoy doing. You never know what something might lead to."
Interested in learning more about the M.A. in History Program or the new Public History Certificate Program? Visit our website and start your own journey to become a historian!