OC History Students Win National Award For 16th Straight Year

OC’s history honor society was chosen as a Best Chapter in the nation among smaller universities for the 16th consecutive year and 17th time overall.

“The students deserve the credit for this exciting achievement,” said 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 very proud of the accomplishments of Tau Sigma and their pursuit of excellence in all they do,” said Mike O’Neal, president of Oklahoma Christian. “We know it takes a lot of hard work and academic prowess to achieve such a distinction.”

OC’s chapter engages in a number of activities for which it was recognized as a best chapter. Six Tau Sigma members presented their scholarship at the Oklahoma Regional Conference. Students raised funds to attend the bi-annual National Conference in Orlando next year, and they helped host History Day, an annual academic competition for 6th-12th graders on the OC campus. The chapter also hosted a session on how to seek admission to law school, as well as other activities.

According to Maple, presidents Seth Newell and Ben Peterson, vice president Rachel Helton, secretary Candy Hart, treasurer Stacie Beach and historians Jefferson Caruthers and Ezra Elrod provided excellent leadership.

“The chapter demonstrated a servant spirit by contributing to activities that they themselves didn’t always benefit from,” Maple said. “It was very inspiring to see seniors raising funds for travel to next year’s conference even though those students will not be here to attend.”

Tau Sigma also entered volume 19 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, but the chapter placed third last year.

“Editors Rachel Helton and Ben Peterson were able to use student scholarship to produce an excellent journal,” Maple said. “Eight articles and a book review fill up the 105 pages.”

One other person that Maple said deserved praise was history professor Matt McCook, who is also the chapter’s associate sponsor.

“Matt was at virtually every chapter activity last year,” Maple said. “After having a rough year with my health, I really appreciated his contributions.”

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

“By winning this competition so many times, our history students have earned more than $4,200 to help fund library purchases here at Oklahoma Christian,” said Maple.