History has been studied at Presbyterian College since its founding in 1880, making it one of the foundational disciplines in the college. Consequently, we have been generating alumni from the History Department for a long time.

As you will see below, our majors have gone on to pursue a variety of vocations and passions. As these quotes can attest, a background in history serves PC’s students both professionally and personally. A degree in history is much more than proof that you can rattle off a bunch of dates and names. Pursuing a history major will equip you not just to be informed about the past but to take that knowledge and apply it to the present day in order to understand better our increasingly globalized world and the problems that confront it. Problem-solving skills, communication skills, and thinking skills are all highly desirable attributes for a person seeking to make a positive impact on society and the world.

Alums from the last two years:

  • ‘The professors are interesting, informative, and always available for help as teachers but also as people who care about students. The group of students that are history majors are also great and I have found a home within my major. I never thought anyone could love history as much as me, but you will definitely find that sentiment in both students and professors at PC.’ ~ Heather, ’14
  • ‘Being a history major is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. The experiences and skills you gain will last a lifetime. I have learned a great deal about myself and the world around me. Also, I have become a better writer and thinker….’ ~ Will, ’13
  • ‘My experience with the History Department has been so wonderful. From my first day as a student here, I have received support and encouragement from the entire department and have truly appreciated that all of them have taken the time to really know me as a student. This department…works hard to plan activities to pull the majors into a community of self-proclaimed historians, as well as educate us and prepare us all for successful futures. I am lucky to have taken classes with each professor in the department, and have learned so much more than I ever imagined possible.’ ~ Murray, ’13

Alums from 3-15 years ago:

  • ‘When I went to study abroad in Wales, I had no issues with my history credits counting when I came back. The History Department was more than happy to work with me. I can honestly say that I look forward to my history classes. History Department has helped to cultivate in me a desire to learn more, and that is something that I will always be thankful for. …history is so much more than just dry facts and remembering the date of some battle. When majoring in history you have to go deeper than that. It involves analyzing, researching, and viewing things in a bigger way. This involves a lot of reading, writing, and hard work. Majoring in history is not something to just breeze through but it is definitely something that is more than worth it.’ ~ Lindsay, ’12
  • ‘The professors are both challenging and helpful, never letting you get by with just an average paper or test grade. In class they provide you with vast amounts of knowledge, but they are just as insightful outside of the classroom when you need help planning next year’s classes or your life plan. The classes offered are varied, everything from the basic “World Civ.” course to more specialized courses like Family and Gender in China. Also, as a history major I was strongly encouraged to study abroad, and with the guidance of the professors within the department, I was able to travel to Cairo, Egypt for an entire semester!’ ~ Lacy, ’12
  • ‘…the History Department gave me an edge in analytical and critical thinking, [and] the discussion style of some of the classes prepared me to lead and make valuable contributions. I think, however, that the greatest aspect of being a history major at PC was the close relationship I formed with the department itself. All of the professors instilled in me a sense of confidence, humility, persistence, and achievement, all of which have aided me along the current path I walk.’ ~ Justin, ’11
  • ‘I am so glad that I went to PC before attending graduate school. I had an advantage over a lot of my classmates. Also, my history professors were really dedicated to helping me become a better critical thinker and writer, which is essential to success in grad school. Their commitment to the students really made me feel like they cared about us and were invested in our success.’ ~ Megan, ’11
  • ‘I was able to participate in two guided research projects that really allowed me to pursue my interests outside of the classroom. My two advisors offered useful critiques of my work while also allowing me the freedom to take the topics where I desired and really discover my main interests. At the same time, they helped me begin to develop the critical research and reading skills essential for graduate school.’ ~ Edwin, ’10
  • The History Department at Presbyterian College prepared me well for graduate school. The awesome history professors pushed me to read closely, think critically, analyze arguments, and become a better writer. When I got to graduate school, I found out that I didn’t have to worry–I was already well-versed in the kind of work expected of me. Thank you for everything, Presbyterian College History Department!’ ~ Leah, ’09
  • ‘PC history faculty are genuinely caring professors who take the time to get to know their students on a personal level. Experts in their field, the professors provide students with an education that is second to none.’ ~ Ben, ’08
  • ‘Critical thinking is at the core of all upper-level history courses.’ ~ David, ’08
  • ‘The faculty and their courses showed me that history is so much more than dates and events. This newly discovered richness excited me and inspired me to make the study of history my career.’ ~ Weston, ’07
  • ‘As a history major, I refined my critical analysis and communication skills which have been pivotal for me as a law student.’ ~ Keshia, ’06
  • ‘Defending my senior thesis…was nerve-wracking, but it built a platform from which I could feel comfortable in my ideas, put them in a public forum, and be confident in the results.’ ~ Preston, ‘04
  • ‘The number one best thing about attending [PC] and majoring in history is the learned ability to think. I have been able to move between careers seamlessly, always knowing that I have the capability to quickly and properly learn whatever necessary to achieve my career goals.’ ~ Alexa, ’04
  • ‘[History] was the only major that actually interested me. Finally I have put that major to good use. After a month-long backpacking trip through Europe, then nearly five years working at an Outdoor Treatment Facility for troubled teenage boys…I have returned to what really interests me. I am a World History teacher at a local Charter High School.’ ~ Michael, ‘03
  • ‘One of my favorite memories is my Study Abroad trip to France…Travelling abroad and visiting sites in person really made ‘history come alive’. I found myself much more empathetic to other people and cultures. I could imagine myself in their place and I could view the issues they faced through their eyes.’ ~ Jesse, ’02
  • ‘Without a doubt, the most profound history moment at PC was walking through the actual trenches of WWI during a Maymester study in France. On the same trip, we also visited the grave of Richard the Lionheart. I was amazed at the fact that [his] body was laid to rest in 1199, almost 300 years before anyone in Europe paid attention to what became America.’ ~ Cam, ’01
  • ‘[My favorite memory was] dressing up like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, giving a speech about women’s suffrage, and pounding a piece of fried chicken on the podium demanding women get the vote. Dr. Gustafson loved it!’ ~ Alex, ’00

Alums from 15+ years ago:

  • ‘I owe just about my entire career to my experiences in the History Department. Memories of Dr. Coker’s lectures, Dr. Burnside’s jokes, and Dr. Needham’s unyielding interest in my college pursuits as my advisor all remain with me, and I reflect on them often.’ ~ Grahame, ’96
  • [History] has contributed to my professional life both in the [Army] and now as a teacher in the classroom. Even if I had entered corporate life, it would pay to understand history in all aspects of society and the effects actions have on the future.’ ~ James, ’85
  • ‘[My history major] taught me to think; to consider different points of view toward a single issue; to understand the circumstances that led us to where we find ourselves today. It showed me the need to be tolerant and understanding of other ideas and cultures.’ ~ Gregory, ’82
  • ‘Following my graduation from Presbyterian I earned additional degrees at two exceptional institutions…where I was exposed to excellent professors and broad experiences, none had as dramatic an impact on my life and who I am today than the years that I spent as a student of Professors Coker, Burnside, and Needham at PC.’ ~ John, ’77
  • ‘During my tenure, my professors taught me to ask the critical question – why did something happen. History was no longer a telling of facts that had occurred in years gone by but rather a critical examination of what had occurred and the implications to the present and future.’ ~ Art, ‘73
  • ‘I am an administrator in a girls boarding school with a very diverse student body. My history courses gave me an understanding of and appreciation for the many cultures of the world. This knowledge has helped me to relate to my students.’ ~ Mary Lorick, ‘72
  • ‘I actively did History/Political Science thinking I might become a lawyer [or] politician. But it was good prep for the ministry.’ ~ Sherwood, ’70
  • ‘…to strike a mighty blow at provincialism and narrow mindedness…’ ~ Sam, ’66
  • ‘Both of my history professors (Jones and Clark) were great teachers and cared about their students. I could return to the college for events and see them and they would call me by name.’ ~ Norman, ’59
  • ‘History is the study of nations – people – happenings. What can be more interesting than that?’ ~ Robert, ’51
  • ‘Dean Marshall Brown was the history dept. when I was there. He was an excellent teacher and an admirable man.’ ~ James, ‘41
  • ‘The voice of history seen and heard keeps listener in touch with beginnings and unfolding of plan and purpose of speaker.’ ~Tish, ’39