Michael P. Sullivan ’88, International Human Rights Law
The lessons I learned while a history major at PC have accompanied me, and shaped my thinking, throughout my post college experience. Perspectives that I gained while a student in Dr. Sickinger’s course on totalitarianism in Nazi Germany were particularly relevant and came to mind while I was working on, and being interviewed about, the conflicts in Bosnia Hercegovina and Kosovo. And having assessed the rise and fall of empires during PC’s Development of Western Civilization program provided me with a useful source of insight that I was able to apply during future international relations efforts, including the years when I was working on Rule of Law issues in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and assisting with the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution in Baghdad, Iraq.
Outside of the work context, I fondly recalled Dr. O’Malley’s outstanding course on Ireland when I was visiting the remains of the house where my mother was born in County Cork. The house had been destroyed during the Irish War of Independence by the Black and Tans and this conflict was a topic upon which Dr. O’Malley had lectured on brilliantly. So, it seems that studying history at PC turned out not only to be a 4-year experience followed by a degree – but, rather, the start of a lifelong journey that continues to offer lessons from history which enable me to assess and tackle modern challenges related to my work.
Mark D’Arcy ’90, Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager, Fidelity Investments
When I look back on my career thus far, I see my time at Providence College as a foundational experience that positioned me for success in many ways. As a history major and with the added benefit of the Development of Western Civilization requirement, I gained an understanding of why things are the way they are and that you could apply the lessons of history in an attempt to engineer a certain outcome in the future.
It was this realization that drove me to seek out and talk to as many people as I could as I neared graduation in an attempt to understand the personal history of those I admired in an effort to plot my own career path. It was through this process that I realized the truth in the old Mark Twain quote, that although ‘history does not repeat itself, it does rhyme.’ By embracing this approach, I was able to pursue a course based on certain principles gleaned from these conversations that I knew would serve me well, even though I did not have a clear view of my destination. The history department and Professor Donna McCaffrey, specifically, provided my first push along the journey that eventually led me to a successful career in financial services. For this I will be forever grateful.
Heather Sanford ’13, Doctoral Student in Early American History, Brown University
The department’s diverse course offerings, ranging from History of the Modern Middle East to the History of Africa, distinctly shaped my historical passion and affirmed my decision to attend graduate school. Both in and out of the classroom, the PC history faculty are not only leaders in their respective fields, but exemplary guides for students as they navigate and chart their intellectual interests. I particularly benefited from the optional honors thesis project, which allowed me to create original scholarship under the direction of an approachable and supportive expert in my field of interest.