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Why Study History at McMurry?


Student authors in action

McMurry history students sign the sections they authored of the book Abilene Landmarks, A Photographic Tour, at the 2008 McMurry Homecoming. The students wrote descriptions of historic or distinctive Abilene buildings for class and saw them published in this handsome book from State House Press. This is not the only occasion that McMurry history students have won distinction beyond the classroom. Click on the following links to learn more about their other activities:

Several 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.

In the fall of 2006, Dr. Don Frazier took his upper division Civil War class on a week-long tour of Civil War battlefields, from Vicksburg on the Mississippi River to Shiloh, Tennesse.

More recently, this past November, 2010, history students visited museums and sites of military encounters between white settlers and Native Americans in the Texas Panhandle.

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. The State House Press also 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.

Heritage Tourism grads

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.