Every August, the academic year begins with a welcome picnic at Daniel Gahan's house. We gather, grill, and eat, and then we sit around and talk. It's a great way for the freshman class to meet everyone else, and for all of us to get reacquainted.
In January each year, the history department gathers for its annual chili contest. We sample chili made by the five professors and our administrative assistant, as well as sides and corn bread. The champion chili is decided by whose steaming pot gets emptied first. After a tense electoral process, the winning chef takes home the much-coveted golden ladle.
A couple of nights before graduation, we meet for dinner at a local restaurant to say thanks and farewell to the graduating senior class – always bitter-sweet, but also a great time. We hope that this event is not “goodbye” but simply “until we meet again”!
Senior Thesis Presentation Night
The senior thesis is a student’s most significant piece of writing, as they end up with a 30-page paper using more than 30 sources. It takes an entire semester and requires extensive research and multiple drafts. At the end of the fall semester, all seniors deliver a 30-minute presentation on their thesis to an audience of their peers, professors, friends, and families. It is a fitting pinnacle to what is a very demanding and rewarding piece of scholarly research.
In March we bring a distinguished historian to campus to deliver the spring lecture. The historian gets the chance to meet our students both inside and out of classes. The well-attended lectures have always been one of the intellectual highlights of the spring semester for the entire University.