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Department ofHistory


Phi Alpha Theta 2021

Reflection by Brandon Schultz '21
Phi Alpha Theta

April marked the second Zoom induction ceremony for new Phi Alpha Theta student members. PAT faculty advisor, Professor Paul Mariani S.J., led the celebration, welcoming 16 new members. He honored every inductee by reading several faculty comments about each student’s strengths. At this event, senior history major and PAT member, Brandon Schultz, also discussed the value of being a part of the history department and community at SCU. Brandon wrote:

“When I think of studying history at Santa Clara, I think of voices.

There are the voices of primary sources, written thousands of years ago or filmed just last year. There are the voices of the historians and other scholars who recovered and collected and analyzed the primary sources. And of course, there’s the voices inside all of our heads, constantly talking to us and sometimes berating us for spending far too many sleepless nights pouring over the voices from the past.

But hopefully anyone studying history encounters these voices. When I think of studying history at Santa Clara, I think of more specific voices.

I think of the professors coming into class at O’Connor at 8 am on a Monday morning and asking us how we are doing. I think of dropping by Professor Randall’s office hours for a quick question that turns into a conversation that doesn’t end until I glance at my watch and realize I’ve been so engrossed I’m already 10 minutes late to my next class. I think of listening to Professor Brillman sharing his personal experiences and talking to the class about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting the day after it happened.

And above all else, I think about the voices of my peers. The in-class comments. The meetings in Benson preparing for group presentations. The late-night texts groaning about an assignment hours before the deadline. I think about the students I debated in Professor Andrew’s French Revolution class, the first history class I ever took, before I even knew history would become my major.

This past year, I had the honor of co-editing the department’s student journal, Historical Perspectives, with fellow History major Tegan Smith. And one of the best parts of the job, (besides reformatting everyone’s footnotes), was reading all the voices of the past filtered through the voices of everyone involved with history here at Santa Clara. The voices of all of you.

Looking back, I’m so thankful I’ve gotten to encounter all of your voices in one form or another. And I am honored to be with everyone here today as we celebrate our shared goal of keeping the voices and experiences of the past alive. Thank you.”

Congratulations to the new PAT members!