Much of what the Department of History does for undergraduates, we do thanks to the generosity of our alumni and alumnae. Endowment funds designated for specific purposes pay for need-based scholarships to History majors, for academic prizes and awards handed out at each year's graduation, for lecturers brought to campus, and for research conducted by seniors writing honors theses, just to name a few instances.
Equally important to the Department of History are the occasional gifts, in any amount, given by alumni, alumnae, and friends. These gifts, deposited directly into the Department's general academic fund, allow the Department and its students to take advantage of opportunities as they arise – and because we are fortunate enough to teach History in an area filled with sites of the greatest historical significance, those opportunities arise often. When instructors wish to take their students to Civil War battlefields or to the Jamestown archeological lab (which is not open to the public), they can do so thanks to the generosity of donors, whose gifts cover the expenses incurred. When our students wish to establish an undergraduate History journal so that they can gain invaluable experience in bringing their own writing into print, or equally invaluable experience in helping others to do the same, gifts from alumni and friends make that possible.
Such gifts would also help the Department of History to do some things that currently we are unable to do. At William & Mary, we teach our students both the contents and the methods of History. The internet revolution is making vast amounts of previously inaccessible material available to our students, but access is not free. We would dearly love to be able to provide access to online databases such as The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries, and others like it, to our students, and perhaps someday, with your help, we will.
If you would like to give current students these kinds of opportunities, I encourage you to contribute online now with your credit card, using our secure web server. The contribution form will be pre-selected for fund #2492, which supports the History Department and its students directly.
As always, we appreciate everyone's past and future support.
Chair, History Department