If the past, as is often said, is a foreign country, the modern traveler needs to know something of its language, geography, and customs. Everyone and everything has a past, and close, systematic study of these pasts can yield important insights about the present and, sometimes, clues about the future. As members of La Salle’s History department, we therefore see our discipline as the one that provides the contextual glue for the other liberal arts and sciences. For this reason it is an important foundation of La Salle’s core curriculum.
While intended as a general guide for History majors and minors, we hope that this website will also help those interested in the past, regardless of academic discipline. Thus, in addition to course descriptions, faculty biographies, publications, and contact information, we consider it vital to mention the many activities of our students and their organizations.
Our Historical Society, chartered in 1936, is one of the oldest and most active student organizations on campus. In addition to running trips, films, and other activities with historical themes, it publishes an award-winning student academic journal, The Histories, twice a year. The Society also sponsors an annual fall symposium featuring top scholars such as James McPherson on topics ranging from American foreign policy during the Civil War to the question of German responsibility for the outbreak of World War I.
The Department hosts the Nu Psi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. Nu Psi had the distinction of winning a national honorable mention for its work during the fortieth anniversary of the Marshall Plan.
More recently, with the help of a generous grant from alumnus John McHale, the Department has sponsored an annual competition for the Leo Award, which highlights the best student essays on the history of Philadelphia. Winners receive generous cash awards for their efforts.
Finally, the History Department also houses the American Studies Program, the Asian Studies Minor, and, of course, the Masters in History and Masters in History for Educators graduate and five-year B.A./M.A. programs.
The History Department’s attention to the individual development of each and every student is a vital part of the proud tradition of the La Sallian approach to education and we cordially invite you to help continue it.
Forward into the past!
Stuart Leibiger, Ph.D.