OC history students win national award for 17th straight year

Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies
Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies

OC’s history honor society was chosen as a Best Chapter in the nation among smaller universities for the 17th consecutive year and 18th time overall.

“The students deserve the credit for this exciting achievement,” said Distinguished Professor of History John Maple, the group’s sponsor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science. “Their pursuit of excellence in chapter activities resulted in this recognition from the national office.”

OC’s chapter is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, an honor society for college history students and professors in the United States. The society hosts regional and national conferences in which more than 350,000 students from 860 chapters compete. The OC chapter, known as Tau Sigma, competed against other universities that had won five or more Best Chapter awards, and that have up to 3,000 students. The latter category has more schools competing against each other than any other Phi Alpha Theta division.

“We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of Tau Sigma,” said John deSteiguer, president of Oklahoma Christian. “Their dedication to academic endeavors and their hard work reflect the best of Oklahoma Christian’s bright students.”

OC’s chapter engages in a number of activities for which it was recognized as a best chapter. Members raised funds to attend the bi-annual National Conference in Orlando in January, where seven students attended and read papers. Nine Tau Sigma members attended the Oklahoma Regional Conference, where seven presented their scholarship. Lynneth Miller and Stacie Beach won first and second place, respectively, in the Non-American History, Undergraduate category.   

Members also helped host History Day, an annual academic competition for 6th-12th graders on the OC campus. Members also served as ushers at the evening presentation of Dr. Fred Casmir on his experiences in the Hitler Youth and German army in World War II, and engaged in a number of other activities. 

According to Maple, president Brandon McWaters, vice president Tony Kajangwe, secretary Shannon Walcher, treasurer Stacie Beach and historian Nick Conley provided excellent leadership.

Tau Sigma also entered volume 20 of the “Oklahoma Christian University Journal of Historical Studies” in the Phi Alpha Theta’s Nash History Journal competition. This year’s winners have not been announced. Last year’s journal placed third among universities without graduate programs in history. New components in volume 20 include seven pictures and a map.

“Editors Brandon McWaters and Lynette Miller were able to use student scholarship to produce an excellent journal,” Maple said. “Eleven articles fill up the 180 pages, 75 pages more than the last volume.”

The Best Chapter honor also comes with a $250 stipend.

“By winning this competition so many times, our history students have earned more than $4,500 to help fund library purchases here at Oklahoma Christian,” Maple said.