One of the great things about being a student in the Messiah College History Department is all the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.  Over the course of the next few weeks there is a lot going on in the life of the department and we invite you to take it all in.

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, Philip Deloria will be delivering the American Democracy Lecture, the most important lecture in the life of the department.  Deloria is a professor of history and administrator at the University of Michigan and a scholar of native American history.  His talk “American Indians in the American Cultural Imagination” promises to be an excellent talk. Learn more about it here.  Also check out the Facebook “event” page.

Thursday, October 30, will be our annual “Faith and History” lecture.  This year’s lecturer is Tibebe Eshete, lecturer in African history at Messiah.  In the 1970s Tibebe was a young Ethiopian Marxist who was active in the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie. Here him describe his journey from Marxism to Christian faith and his understanding of the historian’s vocation. Stay tuned for more details.  The lecture will be held in Boyer 335 at 4pm.

Finally, on November 4 the department will sponsor its annual “Career and Graduate School” event.  This year will focus on careers.  Our speakers will be two Messiah College history alums.  Beth Baggett was a Messiah College history major who currently works as an executive in the New York City fashion industry.  Caitlin Babcock, another Messiah history alum, works for a non-profit organization focused on the assimilation of new immigrants.  It should be a great event.  Stay tuned for more information.  If you ever wondered what you can do with a history major you need to be at this event.

I hope you will join us for all of these events.

WagnerSome of you know Kevin Wagner.  He is a graduate of the Messiah College History Department and currently teaches social studies classes in the history department, including HIST 407.  I am pleased to announce that Kevin is the recipient of the prestigious Gilder-Lehrman Institute History Teacher of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania.  He also had a 1 in 50 chance of being the National History Teacher of the Year.  The award will be announced on November 1st.

Yet another reason to study history at Messiah College!

Read more here about Kevin’s amazing accomplishment.

But the Gilder Lehrman teacher of the award is not the only accolade Kevin has received this year.   He is also recipient of the Patricia Behring 2014 Teaching of the Year Award for his role in National History and the Thomas Holtzman Jr. Educational Leadership Award for 2014.

Congratulations, Kevin!

Great stuff going on in the Messiah College History Department these days.

Check out the television coverage of Dr. Pettegrew’s archaeology class digging for an 18th century church building at a Lutheran graveyard in Mechanicsburg.

Follow the link to watch the television spot (having hard time embedding it at the moment–stay tuned.)


A group of Messiah College historians traveled to Malibu, California this weekend to participate in the biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History (CFH).  This year’s host was beautiful Pepperdine University, a Christian college located on the Pacific Ocean.  Yes, we historians have it rough.


The Messiah College History Department crew at the CFH

May 2014 Messiah College History graduate Brooke Strayer presented a paper at the CFH Undergraduate Conference entitled “Tracing the Trajectory of the Brethren in Christ Peace Position in the United States.”  It was based on her Messiah College senior honors thesis.  Brooke’s paper, as you will see in the photo below, was presented in the Pepperdine University Surfboard Museum.  She did a great job and represented Messiah’s history department very well.


Brooke Strayer “waxes” eloquent in the Surfboard Museum

Another Messiah College history alum, Amanda Mylin (’12), presented a paper at the main CFH conference entitled “Luxury, Vice, and Virtue: The Intersection of Women, Consumerism, and Religion, 1750-1783.”  Amanda is finishing her master’s degree in history at Baylor University.

Devin Manzullo-Thomas, an adjunct instructor in the Messiah College history department and the Director of Messiah’s Sider Institute, participated on a roundtable discussion entitled “The Role of Historians in Managing Institutional Change.”

Dr. Jim LaGrand chaired and commented on a session entitled “Dear Colleagues: What Christian Public Historians Want You to Know About Our Field, Our Audiences, and What We Need from You.”

Finally, Dr. John Fea participated on a panel at the Undergraduate Conference entitled “Why I Hate (or Love) the History Channel.”  At the main conference he joined roundtables devoted to social media and book publishing.

In 2016 the CFH will be meeting in Virginia Beach.  Another undergraduate conference is expected and we hope that many of our students will be interested in attending.  Stay tuned to History on the Bridge for more information.  The deadline for proposals will probably be sometime in April or May of 2016.


The view from the Conference

We are trying something new this year during Homecoming weekend.  We hope that all of you can join us.
All Messiah College History alums, their family members, and friends are invited to attend the Homecoming 2014 History department reception.  It will be held from 1-3pm on Saturday, October 18 at the LaGrands (830 Grantham Rd, Mechanicsburg, PA).  Light refreshments will be served, and child care provided.
Questions?  Contact Jim LaGrand at jlagrand@messiah.edu

I (John Fea) am taking a group of first-year students in the new Humanities Scholar Program on a tour of historic Philadelphia on Saturday October 4 and I need two 15-passenger van drivers.  The drivers will get a small stipend, a free lunch, and a free tour of historic Philadelphia.  Drivers must be registered with the college to drive a 15-passenger van or be willing to get registered.  

Please let me know if you are interested!  

Today we are welcoming our new history majors and introducing them to life in the Messiah College Department of History. After a brief orientation session, students will meet their academic advisers and join returning students in the Boyer Atrium at 2:30 for our annual ice cream social.  This is always an exciting day in the life of the department.  Whether you are a new student or a returning student we hope you will join us at 2:30 for ice cream and fellowship!


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