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The HEARTH heats up at Noble Hall
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The HEARTH heats up at Noble Hall

History classes just got a little cozier on campus. Students are invited to pull up a chair and stoke their flame for studying the past at the HEARTH, also known as the History Education And Research Teaching Hub. Located in 150 Noble Hall, the HEARTH is a living-learning space designed for any student enrolled in at least one history course.

“Whether it’s the only history class they’ll ever take or they’re beginning a lifelong journey, we hope this helps students invigorate their passion for history,” said Michael Martin, chair and professor of History.

The HEARTH is made possible thanks to the generosity of Guy Pfalzgraff (History, ‘70), who just received FLC’s 2023 Civic Leadership Alumni award. Over the last two years, Pfalzgraff collaborated with faculty to brainstorm how his donation could support history students.

Guy Pfalzgraff (History, '70) stands beside a photo of him restocking books at Reed Library in the 1960s. His generosity now supports the restocking of minds in the History Department's new living-learning lab, the HEARTH.I wanted to contribute to having students not only learn history but grow from it,” Pfalzgraff said.  

Some of Pfalzgraff’s contributions offset travel costs for summer study-abroad excursions to Germany. Additionally, for some of the funds, the History faculty identified a vacant room on the lower level of Noble Hall as the perfect canvas to create something fresh and inspiring.

"I wanted to contribute to having students not only learn history but grow from it."

Guy Pfalzgraff (History, '70)

Furnished with tables, chairs, and a couch, this academic lounge invites History students to bring their curiosity and questions. Thanks to clever innovation and great assistance from the IT team, the HEARTH’s faux fireplace starts crackling at 8 a.m. and stays lit until 6 p.m. Peer educator and faculty office hours cater to most student schedules. The History Department stocks the HEARTH’s bookshelves with resources helpful to History majors and minors, including faculty publications.

“Students can see that we still do homework, too,” Martin chuckled.

Students will also find information about academic programs and business cards for staff and faculty in related departments, like the Center of Southwest Studies, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Anthropology. Martin and his colleagues hope students discover how history connects “out.”

“We want them to understand history in action,” Martin said. “It’s less about memorization of names, dates, and places; it’s more about remembering. I want them to be able to find connections between themselves and the past and find the relevancy for today.” 

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