Scholarships, Honors and Awards - Department of History - Christopher Newport University

Department of History

Scholarships, Honors and Awards

For additional information about Department of History scholarships and awards, visit our office in McMurran 305.

The William Parks Award, an engraved plaque and monetary gift, honors the graduating history major with the highest GPA in history courses (with a minimum 3.0 overall GPA). The award is named in memory of Dr. William Parks, a professor in the history department from 1972 until his untimely death in 1978, and dean at Christopher Newport College from 1977-78. A role model for his faculty colleagues as well as students, he is remembered for his loyalty, friendship and sense of fun. He was also respected for his excellence in teaching and his commitment to scholarship.

The Robert M. Usry Award, an engraved Jefferson cup and monetary gift, is awarded to the student who has written the best senior seminar paper during the previous academic year. Usry was one of the first members of the History Department. After a successful career in merchandising, he received an advanced degree in history and came to teach at Christopher Newport College. In his years as a professor of history, he helped to set the tone of our department as one with high standards and a concern for students. The award is designed to honor both his legacy and the achievements of our students.

The William Cameron Schlifke Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a history major. This year’s award is $5,300. The scholarship will beCameron Schlifke applied to your tuition or campus housing bill.

A student from 2005-08, Cameron Schlifke was serving as a designated driver for his fraternity when he was killed by a drunk driver in November 2008. In his memory, his family and many friends raised endowment funds for this scholarship which bears his name. Cameron's many contributions to student life are recognized in this award and we hope that his example will continue to inspire students.


  • Must be a declared history major;
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time CNU student next fall (2024);
  • Must be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA or better); and
  • Must have made significant contributions to CNU student life
  • According to the wishes of the Schlifke family, preference is given to members of Greek social organizations, but membership is not required.


Submit a 3-5 page essay to Dr. David Stenner, Department of History by Friday, April 12 at 5 p.m. The essay should contain:

  • Your GPA;
  • What Greek social organization to which you belong (if any); and
  • Your contributions to CNU student life and how these contributions have enriched or bettered the CNU experience for other students. These contributions do not need to be related to Greek life.

The Mario D. Mazzarella Study Abroad Fund was established in 2012 by his colleagues to honor the many contributions of "Dr. Mazz" over the course of his 44 years of service to Christopher Newport. As a dedicated teacher in the classroom and as a leader of many study abroad courses, Mazzarella helped students understand their place in history and to see themselves as citizens of the world. In his name, the history department awards this scholarship to deserving students from all academic backgrounds who participate in the department's faculty-led study abroad programs.

Criteria for the Award:

  • Must be a full-time student in good standing, or graduating senior using the scholarship in the summer after your graduation
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Must use the scholarship toward the costs associated with either HIST 276 (The Study of History Abroad) OR a similar credit-bearing, Christopher Newport faculty-led, overseas history course

How to Apply:

  • Contact Dr. Andrew Falk for an application form
  • Fill out the application and return it by the deadline

The Department of History and the Virginia War Museum present the annual Military History Undergraduate Research Award to the student who writes the best paper on a military topic, broadly conceived, during the academic year.

The Virginia War Museum was established in 1923 and supports such endeavors as the preservation of historic districts, homes and battlefields, and presents our past to future generations. Indeed, several of our public history majors have held internships at the museum, cataloguing and displaying their significant collections of artifacts. It is through the generosity of the museum's foundation that this undergraduate research award carries a monetary prize.

Christopher Newport's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (Alpha Zeta Mu) was chartered in April 1993. Phi Alpha Theta is an academic honor society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. For more information on the national organization, visit

Students who are interested in membership must meet the following academic standards:

  • Minimum 12 history credit hours, 6 of which must be at the 300-400 level
  • Minimum 3.1 GPA in history
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA overall

For more information, contact Dr. Laura Puaca, faculty adviser

If you would like a copy of the Phi Alpha Theta application emailed to you, please contact Sharon Toussaint, history department administrative assistant

Current members of Phi Alpha Theta are eligible to attend and present at the regional and national conferences.

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