In the 1950s, WMU’s Department of History awarded its outstanding undergraduates book prizes. A popular history book would be purchased and then all faculty, as well as administrative staff, would sign the inside cover.
During Tom Coyne’s senior year in 1955, when he was selected for the Outstanding History Student Award, the department presented him with Paul Morgan’s Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. As evident in the accompanying photo, the entire department signed the inside cover. The signees represent some of the most distinguished faculty to have served at WMU. There are no fewer than five buildings on campus named in their honor.
Nearly a half-century later, Tom felt the book, and accompanying signature page, would likely have more meaning to the department than to his immediate family and he decided to donate it to the Department of History. We are thrilled to receive this donation filled with signatures of history faculty who played such an important role in teaching, scholarship, and the development of WMU. The book, open to the signature page, is on display it in the Department of History Common Room book cabinet for all to view. Thank you to Tom Coyne for his thoughtfulness, generosity, and sharing this bit of our collective past.