The rigor of a research university, the feel of a small liberal arts college
Looking back on his first year as chair of the Department of History, Michael Kimmage reflects on the enduring qualities of our students, faculty, and programs. Read the chair's letter
Alumni profiles: History beyond academia
This issue's theme is "public history," the ways that people trained in historical methods interpret and present the past to audiences beyond academia. We hope you'll enjoy these stories about alumni who've managed museums and local historical societies, professional historians' organizations, historic preservation departments in government, and oral-history projects for the U.S. military.
Lee Formwalt, B.A. 1971, Ph.D. 1977 Consultant, Lee Formwalt Consulting
Formerly Executive Director, Organization of American Historians
Formerly Executive Director, Albany Civil Rights Institute
"I was a historian, and I had way too many monographs and articles by professional historians on my 'to read' pile. Reading fiction was a luxury I could ill afford. Now I was reading fiction without any guilt whatsoever. It was liberating.The whole New Georgia Guide experience was liberating. When I was finished with the 40-page essay, my whole attitude as a professional historian had changed. I no longer felt confined to my scholarly cloister. There was a bigger world out there that needed to be sampled and tasted."
Nezka Pfeifer, B.A. 1994
Museum Curator, Missouri Botanical Garden
"As the museum curator, I was uniquely poised to do a job that is rare in the museum field, in tying many disciplines together – specifically, science, art, and history – to tell a myriad of narratives from the Garden's perspective. [...] I am often interacting with the public, getting feedback or questions on curatorial choices in the Museum, as well as looking for deeper information on something that has piqued their interest."
Brendon Hanafin, B.A. 1989
Historic Preservation Chief and Planning and Capital Projects Division Chief, Prince William County, Virginia
"My time with Catholic University's History Department played a key role in my career choices and success. During my sophomore year, Dr. Wakelyn took his American Civil War class on a Saturday field trip to Manassas National Battlefield Park. It seemed like a long way from DC! The ranger-led tour was inspiring and we had a great day. About twenty-five years later, I was the Chairman of the Prince William County Sesquicentennial Committee of the American Civil War. In this role I helped to plan five years of programming including the 150th anniversary event at the Manassas Battlefield."
Bianka J. Adams, Ph.D. 1998
Historian, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
"In the past decade, I also had opportunities to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, I served for a year as command historian during 1st U.S. Cavalry Division's deployment as the command and control element of the Multi-National Division Baghdad, Iraq. Five years later, I deployed for the Corps on a three-month history collection mission to the Transatlantic Afghanistan District, Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan. Finally, in June, I returned to Iraq for a short three-week stint to document the mission of the Corps' Mosul Dam Task Force."
Department of History highlights, 2018-2019
Awards and distinctions for our faculty, undergraduate history majors, and graduate students; unveiling a new digital presence; alumni news; and more! Read the highlights
What's on your bookshelf?
We asked our history professors for recommendations for the most interesting books they’ve read recently and would suggest to anyone interested in history. Have a look at what they’ve come up with – we think they’ll intrigue you! See the recommendations