UHV History Day
Established in 2020, History Day is an event organized by UHV history faculty every spring semester. On History Day, we celebrate student and faculty research, as well as provide information about compatible careers for students thinking about majoring or minoring in history. We invite UHV alumni, faculty, staff and students to join us for a day of festivities. History Day typically ends with an evening event featuring a well-known historian giving a plenary lecture on a topic of interest to our community in Victoria, Texas.
Interested in Contributing to History Day?
Donations, which help pay for speaker fees, student lunches and prizes and the travel accommodations for speakers, can be made here. (Anyone can make a one-time or recurring donation, but UHV employee donations will be matched by the university).
Our third annual History Day took place on March 31, 2022, on Microsoft Teams (virtually) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first event, from noon to 12:45 pm, featured a presentation by Esther Cuenca, who spoke about the importance of studying and majoring in History. History majors Consuelo “Cleo” Leos and Quentin Walker gave two research presentations on projects they developed in Cuenca’s Crusades history course. Both presentations focused on the material culture of the crusading period. Leos’s presentation, "Artifacts from the Crusader Era: Missal of the Holy Sepulcher,” explained how a missal produced in the Holy Land in c. 1135 can give us further insight into the multicultural communities that inhabited medieval Jerusalem. Walker’s presentation on the Ryerson Diptych examined how medieval icons from Byzantium were instructive, portable, and devotional objects for elite Christians. For their presentations, both Leos and Walker received honoraria, which were generously provided by UHV’s Student Excellence Fund.
A “door” prize, also from the Student Excellence Fund, was distributed to a lucky student who attended the noon event. This year’s recipient was Steban Ramos.
Professor William Chester Jordan of Princeton University gave the evening keynote. Professor Jordan is the author of over a dozen books, including The Apple of His Eye: Converts from Islam during the Reign of Louis IX, which Cuenca had assigned to students in her Crusades course. Professor Jordan’s talk, “Crusaders, Mercy, and the Weapons of War,” had an attendance of over 40 guests. The Q&A was moderated by Cuenca, who was assisted by History major Latimer Ford, who received a gift certificate from the Student Excellence Fund for his participation. Professor Jordan’s honorarium was provided by the newly established College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, with assistance from Dean Kyoko Amano, and the UHV History Day fund.
Our second annual History Day took place on April 23, 2021, on Microsoft Teams (virtually) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first event, from noon to 1 p.m., featured a presentation by Joseph Locke about the importance of studying history in these very historic times. He also included some general information about the history major and minor. The history faculty also discussed upcoming elective courses for the 2021-2022 school year.
History majors Hayden Janner and Andrew Tomek also gave presentations. Janner discussed “Connections in Ancient Civilizations,” which she adapted from a paper she wrote for Esther Cuenca’s "World History" course. Tomek presented on “Illustrating History - From Pencil to Pixels: The Impact of Photography on Historical Research.” This year, we were able to secure funds for student prizes from UHV’s Student Excellence Fund (with generous assistance from Craig Goodman, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and senior administrative secretary Paula Edging). The first-place prize went to Tomek, an honorarium was given to Janner, and incoming history major Joann Coy won the door prize.
In the evening, Hilary Green from the University of Alabama joined us on Teams to give a talk on “Confederate Monument Removals: Contextualizing the Post-George Floyd Moment.” Laura Mammina moderated the lively Q&A session that followed Professor Green’s talk.
Our inaugural History Day event took place on March 6, 2020. The history faculty convened the event in the University Commons Multi-Purpose Room and brought pizza and soda for more than 50 students in attendance. In the first session, we heard presentations from UHV history alumnus Jason Hybner about the value of a history degree, as well as from Jesse Pisors, who has a Bachelor of Arts in history and is the vice president for advancement and external relations at UHV. UHV librarian Brittany Rodriguez also shared with us information about the collections available for research at the Victoria Regional History Center.
In the second session, history majors Stacy Garcia and Roilene Adele Sullivan gave research presentations based on papers they wrote for Esther Cuenca’s fall 2019 course “Saints, Wives and Witches.” Sullivan presented on “A Woman’s Worth: Devaluation of Women in the Labor Force,” and Garcia's was titled “Women Religious (Nuns) in the Middle Ages and Now.”
We also heard from students taking Dr. Mammina’s courses. Students Kathleen Hulbert and Matthew Baca presented the research posters they made for Dr. Mammina’s Civil War course. Students Vito Lozano and Jonathan Irby spoke about their experiences playing a “Reacting to the Past” game on the American Revolution in their class “Thinking Like a Historian.”
In the last session, the UHV history faculty gave their presentations. Esther Cuenca spoke about her experiences researching and traveling as a medieval historian in her presentation, “Stepping into the Medieval Past in the Archives of England.” Laura Mammina told us about her travels as a historian of the Civil War in her talk, “Adventures in History Across the United States.” Lastly, Joseph Locke described his process writing publishable books in his presentation about “Writing Books on American and Texas History.”
In the evening, more than 100 people from the Victoria community gathered to hear Karl Jacoby of Columbia University speak on “The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Slave from Victoria Who Became a Mexican Millionaire.” Jacoby’s talk was adapted from his exciting and well-regarded book, “The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire.” Also in attendance were Ellis’ descendants, who participated in the Q&A with Jacoby after the talk.