Gordon in the News: last updated 10/24/2008

Saving History: Honors Theses Get Long Shelf Life with New Bindings

September 30, 2008

Calen Rubin
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA- Completing a history honors thesis is no easy task. Students spend two full semesters researching and writing an original topic while working in conjunction with a history professor. The result is a 60-100 page thesis and a prepared defense of the topic before faculty.

To honor a student's work, the Gordon College history department has recently started a tradition of binding the honors theses into red hardbound books that will be integrated into the general collection of Jenks Library. Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, associate professor and chair of history department, says the new step is an important part of the department's latest developments, which also includes a departmental newsletter and an updated website.

"Binding the theses is a way to showcase and highlight the efforts of the honors students and to broaden the audience beyond just the professors," said Hevelone-Harper. "Before this, only a handful of professors read these theses."
Two bound copies will be made of each thesis. Each student will receive a copy and the other will be placed in the library as a research tool for current and future students. Students considering completing an honors thesis can look at the works already bound in the library to get an idea of what they require. But they will also be available for all students interested in researching particular topics.

"It's a huge amount of work and it's great that it will be recognized and put in the library," said Allison Kuhns, a senior currently working on her first semester of thesis research. Kuhns says she is still formulating the details of her topic, but her thesis will likely focus on Celtic relationships, particularly a non-traditional view of the role of a woman within a Celtic village.

The first theses bound were those of the graduating class of 2008. Topics included, "The Forgotten Dialogue: On the Sixteenth Century Lutheran-Orthodox Correspondence and Reasons for Its Abrupt Ending" by Daniel Bell, and "The Innovative Theocrat: Constantine and the Shaping of a Christian Empire" by Luke Suttmeier. Hevelone-Harper hopes to work with students of past years to bind their theses for inclusion in Jenks Library as well.

"Growing up, I saw my parents' masters theses bound on our bookshelves," Kuhns said.  "It's neat to think I can have the same thing with my undergraduate thesis."

For information, or to request an interview, please contact Calen Rubin in the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4235 or


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.


New bound history theses can be found in the general collection of Jenks Library.