Student history clubs rewarded for history of excellence

12.22.2015 | By Rob Vanya

Faculty advisors for the Webb Society chapters on the three San Jacinto College campuses include, from left, Abbie Grubb, Marcus Turner, and Diane Heafer. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


San Jacinto College’s student history clubs have a lengthy history of excellence, which has not gone unnoticed by the Texas State Historical Association (THSA).

The THSA recently presented a multi-year grant to the College’s history clubs, called Webb Society chapters after noted Texas historian Walter Prescott Webb. San Jacinto College has operated Webb Society chapters on all three campuses for more than 30 years, and the clubs are among the most active in the state.

“Of the more than 20 chapters at colleges around the state, three of the five chapters chosen for the grants are from San Jacinto College, and we are receiving 60 percent of the funding,” commented Dr. Eddie Weller, San Jacinto College history professor and principal investigator for the grant. “The Elkins Foundation (the organization providing the grant) was so impressed by the work of the Webb Society chapters that they provided the next four yearly installments at one time. That means that the clubs and faculty advisors will each receive about $1,650 this year.”

The Elkins Foundation grant funding will enable students and faculty advisors to attend conferences, take course-related field trips to museums, and to hold on-campus activities.

San Jacinto College history major Samantha Thomas, president of the Central Campus Webb Society chapter, says participating in club events and activities brings history alive and greatly enhances traditional classroom learning. “Participating in meetings, and learning hands-on by visiting historical sites supplements what we learn in class and helps with critical thinking,” she commented. “I learned so much during a recent Webb Society trip to the Bryan Museum in Galveston, which houses the personal collection of J.P. Bryan and his wife. It was eye-opening and awe inspiring to see so many Southwestern U.S. and Texas artifacts.”

Thomas, of Pasadena, will earn an associate degree from San Jacinto College in May and transfer to the University of Houston Clear Lake to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history. Her ultimate career goal is to earn a PhD in history and teach at a college in the Houston area. “Texas history is what compelled me to major in history and I hope to teach it one day, though this semester I have been getting more interested in Mexican-American history,” she remarked. I think the way Mexican-American history intertwines with Texas history is fascinating.”

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

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