It is difficult to overestimate the impact of private giving on what we are able to do for our undergraduates in the Department of History. Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and alumnae over the years, we have been able to provide our History majors with need-based scholarships, as well as academic prizes and awards, which we are proud to recognize every year at the Department of History’s Commencement ceremony in May. We use these funds to support our majors engaged in research, both inside and outside the country, for their honors theses. We are able to invite individual lecturers to campus to speak to our students on a broad range of issues and themes. We are able to run symposia on themes to which students and the public alike are invited. Recent themes have included: “The World Beyond Slavery,” “How World War I Changed The World,” “The Early Modern Atlantic World in a Global Context,” “Nuclear World Controversies.” This all helps to build a vibrant intellectual academic community here at William & Mary that is ready to face real-world issues.
Endowment funds enable us to do some of this, but equally important to the Department of History are the occasional gifts, in any amount, given by alumni, alumnae, and friends. These generous 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 archaeological 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. Finally, 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 are in a position to do this, I encourage you to contribute online now with your credit card, using our secure web server. On the contribution form you will see “History (2492)”, which supports the History Department and its students directly. If you scroll down, you will also see specific, designated funds such as the Ed Crapol Award in Modern U.S. History (3925), the Judith Ewell Award in Comparative and Transnational History (3936), and the John Boswell Memorial Lecture Series Endowment (3329).
As always, we sincerely appreciate everyone's past and future support.
Chair, History Department