“I am especially gratified by the prize established in my name because it recognizes the importance of the connection between Ursinus College and the local community,” says Doughty, a professor of history. “National History Day at Ursinus has been making a community connection for over 20 years, and I’m very proud of that.”
The National History Day regional competition for Bucks and Montgomery counties is an annual academic enrichment program for students in grades 6-12 that encourages thoughtful historical research, project-based learning and a dose of friendly competition.
The Ross Doughty History Award will be presented for the first time in 2018 at the regional competition on March 24. The winning student project will be one that is focused on Pennsylvania history and the winner will receive $250.
Hosted by Ursinus College since 1996 and facilitated by staff and volunteers of the Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle in Doylestown and from Ursinus, it allows high school and middle school students to take history beyond the classroom.
The students compete as individuals or as a group in one of five distinct categories: exhibits, papers, websites, documentary films and performances. More than 175 students participate in the regional event and regional winners will move on to a state competition.
“When I was in high school, we had a science fair and that was it—there was no equivalent for students who, like me, were interested in history,” Doughty says. “That’s why I was delighted to become connected with National History Day. It allows students to exercise their imaginations, and without imagination, history is impossible because you have to be able to place yourself in the past in order to even begin to understand it.”
A 1968 graduate of Ursinus, Doughty is retiring this year after 43 years of service to the college. He served as history department chair for 19 years over two extended terms and also lent his leadership to the education department as acting chair, assisted in the establishment of the East Asian studies minor at Ursinus, and enthusiastically supported the international relations program.
In addition to his training as a British historian, his scholarship includes early modern and modern Europe, Germany, military history, international politics, and world history. He won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1980 and in 1993, Doughty was one of the first inductees into the newly created Tau Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Ursinus. —By Ed Moorhouse