“The past is never dead,” once wrote William Faulkner. “It’s not even past.” History
is not a static account of past deeds but a dynamic process of interpreting the past
— a process that constantly changes and shapes how we consider the present.
To be a historian is to critically analyze sources, to appreciate the complexity of
historical issues, to consider the multiplicity of historical views, and to communicate
effectively. Just as important, a historian studies people — interesting people doing
interesting things, from a huge variety of backgrounds and contexts. The intellectual
discipline of history, then, makes us better citizens, better interpreters of the
world around us, better informed and more responsible members of the larger human
History majors also cultivate the important skills that are required in any aspect
of modern professional life. Our majors have pursued productive careers in business,
law, government, teaching, nonprofits, journalism, and public history. Leaders of
these institutions demand people who can read efficiently, write effectively, sift
through information, and solve problems. A history major does not necessarily train
you to do a single job well — it trains you to do any job well.