Thursday, May 15, 2008

History Lives Online: Washington College's 'Revolutionary College Project' Site Launched

Chestertown, MD — Washington College is pleased to announce the debut of theRevolutionary College Project, a dynamic new web site chronicling two and a quarter centuries' worth of College history.

Visitors to the site can watch FDR visit Chestertown in a 1933 newsreel, listen to the original Washington College fight song, take a close-up look at George Washington's Washington College diploma from 1789, read about the alumnus who set "The Star-Spangled Banner" to music and another who paired up Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers, learn about the peerless record of the Washington College football team, the day when Allen Ginsberg levitated Chestertown, and much more from the fascinating past of one of America's most historic educational institutions.

The Revolutionary College Project, spearheaded by the College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, is highlighted by groundbreaking research and scholarship by Washington College students and recent alumni. Edited by Sheila Austrian (Class of 2003) and featuring web design by Francoise Sullivan of Moo Productions, the site is being launched at the culmination of the College's year-long 225th anniversary celebration.

"The Revolutionary College Project will serve as a permanent legacy of the 225th anniversary celebration," said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center, "and will continue to grow in the months and years ahead as more work is added."

Benefiting from the personal patronage of George Washington, Washington College is an institution rich in history and tradition. The story of the College opens windows into the history of American higher education, and even into the history of America itself—from the Revolutionary era, through the early Republic, the Civil War, the Progressive era, the rise of feminism, the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s and beyond.

The Revolutionary College Project site is packed with information on the College's historic founding, its growth along with the surrounding region through the years, its notable alumni, interesting curiosities, and much more. The "Presidential Connections" section chronicles the visits that many U.S. presidents, from George Washington to George H.W. Bush, have made to the Chestertown campus. "Struggle & Strength" charts history's path to racial equality at the College, as well as the Maryland Eastern Shore's rich African-American legacy. "Three Centuries on the Chesapeake" views the College through the perspective of its region's national historical significance.

A section called "Your Stories" features alumni, faculty and staff reminiscences about Washington College; more will continue to be added.

"A number of the oldest American colleges and universities—places like Penn, Dickinson, the University of North Carolina—have created impressive websites or 'virtual museums' showcasing their campus history," Goodheart said. "We wanted our site to be as comprehensive as these—but also more exciting, more fun and with more potential to grow, becoming an ongoing project that links our students of today with their predecessors of past generations."

The site will serve as the eminent resource for researchers into the College's past. "Finally, there is a definitive destination for anyone interested in the Washington College story," said Justine Hendricks, a 2007 graduate who contributed to the site. "It's such a multi-layered and diverse history, one that only becomes more fascinating the more you learn."

Hendricks is one of many students and recent alumni who have taken part in the daunting task of researching, writing and producing the site. The students have been using Washington College's past as a laboratory to study the larger American saga. "They were probably the greatest body of undergraduates I've worked with, and that includes teaching at Vassar and Hopkins," said Ben Kohl, a member of the College's Board of Visitors and Governors, who was instrumental in shepherding along the project. "These students contributed their own scholarship about Washington College to the site, and it will serve online as a lasting contribution to the history of the institution."

The Revolutionary College Project can be viewed at

May 15, 2008

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