SMC Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant 
For Public History Program

National Endowment for the Humanities logo

Saint Mary’s College has received a $50,000 Humanities Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support an academic and community engagement public history initiative. Public history is an emerging field focused on civic education and public engagement with the past.

The NEH grant will support Saint Mary’s “Partners in Public History: Training Students and Engaging Communities,” an innovative initiative that will support teaching, academic research, and public presentations on public history, and foster educational partnerships with diverse organizations and schools across the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We are extremely proud to receive this grant, which is aligned with our Liberal Arts, Lasallian, and Catholic mission,” said School of Liberal Arts Dean Sheila Hassell Hughes. “The NEH award also demonstrates the commitment of our stellar History Department faculty to serve the common good by elevating the importance of public history and removing social barriers to history education in our broader community. A strong history education is more relevant today than ever, and this new initiative of public engagement will help to highlight that.”

A three-year initiative, the Partners in Public History program includes the new course, “Asian-American Voices in Public History.” History Professor and Project Director Aeleah Soine will teach the course in January 2018. “This first phase of the program offers students the opportunity to tell history from the bottom up, building upon Saint Mary’s signature community engagement curriculum to integrate professional skills with cultural competencies,” said Soine. Students in the course will gain experience with oral history, digital media, and museum exhibit curation, while supporting the public outreach of Asian-American community organizations and historical institutions.

As part of its community education mission, the Partners in Public History initiative includes a History Day mentorship program that introduces elementary and middle-school children to historical inquiry and research and to the prospect of college attendance. In March 2018, the college will host hundreds of young scholars for the Contra Costa County National History Day competition.

In addition to the NEH grant, Saint Mary’s Partners in Public History program will be supported by philanthropic and College resources. For more information about the Partners in Public History program, contact History Professor Aeleah Soine at or visit the Saint Mary’s History Department online at

Saint Mary’s Partners in Public History initiative is among 253 humanities projects nationwide that were funded by the NEH. The NEH Humanities Access program provides grants to enhance humanities programs that benefit youth, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations. An independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Learn more at


Michael McAlpin
Office of College Communications
(925) 631-4222 office

About SMC
The Saint Mary's College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church's oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls nearly 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary's College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.