Department of History

Scholarships, Honors and Awards

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. The applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Declared history major
  • Enrolled full-time in good standing (2.0 GPA or better)
  • Member of a Greek social organization
  • Significant contributions to student life

The scholarship will be applied to the tuition or campus housing bill.

How to apply:

  • Submit a three-five page essay to the Department of History (MCM 305) by the posted deadline.
  • Indicate what Greek social organization to which you belong and explain your contributions to student life.

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.

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 Research Paper Award to the student who writes the best research paper on a military topic, broadly conceived, during the academic year. The winner of this prize receives a $250 award from the Virginia War Museum Foundation, awarded during the History Department Honors Convocation in May.

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

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:

  • At least 12 credit hours in history, six of which must be at the 300-400 level
  • 3.1 grade point average in history credit hours
  • Overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0

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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