The University of Houston-Downtown received two honors during the 122nd annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). During the association’s March 10 meeting in San Marcos, Texas, UHD’s Garna Christian Chapter of the Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society received the University Chapter of the Year Award. Also, Dr. Gene Preuss, associate professor of history, was also named 2018 Advisor of the Year.
The Webb Society is an educational outreach program of the TSHA for college and university students interested in Texas history, inviting them to “discover, research, write, and publish Texas history as they find it where they live.” The University Chapter of the Year Award is bestowed to those “chapters who show outstanding commitment and outreach within their communities.” Many of the UHD Webb Society members are also enrolled in the University Honors Program. This is the third time since 2012 that UHD’s chapter has received this honor.
The University’s Garna Christian Chapter of the Webb Society toured historic sites in Austin during last year’s fall meeting with other chapters from around the state. These meetings allow students opportunities to network with other students and professional historians, as well as attend and present research at a professional history conference.
The Chapter also provides students with opportunities to present scholarly works at other conferences. In October 2017, UHD student, Alondra “July” Morillon presented a paper at the East Texas Historical Association Fall Conference in Galveston. As a result, she earned the Dr. Archie P. McDonald Scholarship. Additionally, students participate in a number of activities at the University as well as in the community, including the Chapter’s annual History Walk & Talk tour of Downtown Houston.
“Many times, students have an interest in history, but don’t really know what they can do with a degree in history,” Preuss said. “They don’t understand what opportunities are available, and often think that teaching at a university is the only pathway to a career. The Webb Society is important because it gives students the opportunity to see what people with an interest in history—from academic professional historians to school teachers to lay people—can do with the study and preservation of history. It gives students a chance to build professional network, see opportunities for careers beyond the degree, and learn by example about the history of Texas and local communities.”