History@CU will periodically be posting interviews with our alumni. Our inaugural interview is with recent graduate Keeley Locke.
History@CU: When did you graduate from Cumberland?
Keeley Locke: I graduated from Cumberland in May of 2010!!
H@CU: Why did you choose history as a major?
KL: I chose history because I love it and think that is one of the broadest areas of study. Everything that has ever come into being and existence is a part of history and is therefore extremely relevant to our lives. When I was choosing a major, like many new students, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life but felt that history was a road map to all areas.
H@CU: What was your impression of the history professors at CU?
KL: When I was at Cumberland, our History department included Prof. Pope, Prof. Bell, Dr. Dressler, and later Dr. Cheathem.
Prof. Pope was my mentor. The first day we met he and Dr. Hefner were arguing in the hallway about Andrew Jackson. I remember thinking that it was odd for two men to be arguing about another man that has been dead for over 150 years. Boy, I didn’t have a clue.
I never had Dr. Dressler as an instructor. At first he scared me out of my wits. As I became more familiar with him, I became more comfortable. He had a great laugh.
Bell, Bell, Bell. We are family. Not figuratively. I do mean literally family. The most humorous and, to me, significant thing I remember about him is related to an assignment he made in African History. He was giving nation paper assignments. He gave everyone great countries like Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and he assigned LESOTHO to me!! Lesotho, in case you don’t know… most of the world doesn’t… is a little country completely surrounded by South Africa. I could have strangled him with the Map of Africa. Now, however, I know about a country that many have never even heard of.
Lastly, there was Dr. Cheathem. He made me cry by giving me a D on my first paper in Emergence of Modern America. His expectations intimidated me but I was a far better history student after this class than before.
H@CU: What was your favorite history course/activity/trip?
KL: My favorite classes were Colonial History, Emergence of Modern America, Western Expansion, and World Civilizations II. I also loved the summer field trip course with Pope. It was worth watching him sit on the floor of a canoe in between his wife and a student who were paddling down the Harpeth River. I also really enjoyed the trip to New Mexico and recommend it for every history/anthropology student.
H@CU: What is your career today, and how have you used your CU history degree in your field?
KL: I’m taking a year off during which I will be traveling to Africa to work in an orphanage. I hope to start graduate school next fall and will be studying Culture or Human Rights in Europe. My history major and the classes I took at Cumberland have prepared me for taking that next step…graduate school. It has also educated me more fully about the world I live in, where we’ve been, and where we don’t want to go again.