Photo of Paul Wilt

Special Features

Paul and Doris Wilt Prize

Each year, Dr. and Mrs. Paul C. Wilt fund a cash prize for the best research paper in the Senior Seminar (History 198). Dr. Wilt was a member of the history department faculty for over 30 years, and continues to teach occasionally even in his retirement. During his time in the department, he was a strong supporter of the Senior Seminar. In this class, advanced history students have the opportunity to pursue a research project on their own. The project must involve using both primary and secondary sources, and must represent a student’s mastery of the current research on the topic as well as their own contribution to that scholarship.

Each year, the department celebrates the winner at a lunch at the Four Seasons Biltmore. In addition to the department faculty, we invite Paul and Doris Wilt to join us for lunch.

Major Honors Project

Though it is possible for students in any major to undertake Senior Honors work, this has become something of a tradition among our best students in history. Students who are serious about attending graduate school in history are encouraged to apply to do an Honors Project in their senior year. The project allows students to develop and display their bibliographic and historiographic skills, as well as their abilities in source criticism, narrative construction and historical analysis.

Students work throughout the year with a committee of faculty made up of members of the history department and at least one outside department. At the end of the year, the candidate for major honors presents a public defense of the work, in addition to the final written project.

In recent years, students have completed projects on such topics as:

  • An Examination of Lord Cromer and ‘Orientalism’
  • Advertising and the Battle of Britain
  • George Eliot’s ‘Romola’ in the Context of Victorian England
  • English Women in the India Mutiny of 1857.

Four Westmont history professors