What It Takes to Become a Historian,
or Famous Historians I Have Known

(not that many)
by C.T. Evans
Professor Evans in Strasbourg
Professor Evans on a research visit to Strasbourg some years ago

Well, you really don't get to be a historian without encountering some very influential--in both a good and a bad sense--professors during the long training on the way to becoming a historian. In my case that meant five years as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame and seven years in graduate school at the University of Virginia. Both schools had big-time athletic programs that made my stays at those schools very enjoyable, and both had outstanding libraries.  I had some great professors in all of my years as an undergraduate (over 165 credits.) and then as graduate (maybe 60+ credits)--and I have also had some real, real, real horrible experiences in the classroom.   Don't even think that you can outdo me with tales of the bad in higher education!  Here I would like to single out four professors who really helped me achieve my end goal of teaching and studying history, although when I first went to college I was planning on becoming a chemical engineer.

Take a moment and read my comments about these four guys.  Unfortunately all are dead now except for Professor Sablinsky--must be the highly stressful job of being a historian!  I learned much from each of them, different things, some not very academic, but what did they all have in common, you might ask? (1) They generally all strove for excellence in their work; (2) they respected you; and (3), most important, they were all very demanding and accepted no excuses when it came to academic performance.

Bernard Norling, University of Notre Dame
Thomas Hammond, University of Virginia
Walter Sablinsky, University of Virginia
Hans Schmitt, University of Virginia.


Professor Evans on duty at the Loudoun Campus of Northern Virginia Community College

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