Students enrolled in Buffalo State College’s history and social studies education graduate programs will have the unique opportunity to secure a paid fellowship with the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo beginning in spring 2022.
Shirley Hudders, a longtime volunteer and trustee emerita of the TR Inaugural Site Board of Directors, made a gift to the site earmarked for fellowships at Buffalo State. The $2,500 Hudders TR Inaugural Site Masters Fellowship will be awarded to one student each fall for use the following spring semester over the next 10 years, according to Stanton Hudson, executive director of the TR Inaugural Site and a part-time lecturer in Buffalo State’s Communication Department.
The gift is intended to support the legacy of the institution where Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th president of the United States in 1901, following the assassination of William McKinley in Buffalo.
“Her gift is a great vote of confidence in our programs and will provide excellent opportunities for our students,” said Andrew Nicholls, professor and chair of the History and Social Studies Education Department. “Students will be encouraged to expand research beyond the inauguration, focusing on Roosevelt’s life—his work with civil rights and the environment, for instance—as well as the time period in which he lived.”
When Hudders announced her desire to make a gift to promote educational outcomes, Hudson recommended that she designate it for Buffalo State graduate students.
“We’ve worked with Buffalo State interns in the past, some of whom have gone on to work with us after graduation, as well as use their experience to find rewarding positions with other institutions,” Hudson said, adding, “Because Buffalo State is celebrating its 150th anniversary and the TR site is celebrating its 50th this year, it made sense to form the partnership now.”
Originally, the 3-credit fellowship was designed for students in three of the college’s graduate programs: history, social studies education, and museum studies. Current museum studies students are eligible to apply, Nicholls said, though Buffalo State will not accept new students to the museum studies programs after January 1, 2022.
He noted, however, that the fellowship is especially appropriate for students pursuing careers in history or social studies education.
“The site is quite interested in having school curricula developed around the site and having learning outcome exercises attached to it,” he said.
Hudson said that the interactive exhibits in the museum focus not only on Roosevelt himself but also on the issues of that time period. Many of these, he noted, mirror what the country is grappling with today—poverty, immigration, and environmental conservation—and the site provides a fertile ground for historical research.
To qualify for the fellowship, applicants must have completed a minimum of 9 hours of graduate-level study in their chosen field with at least a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) and demonstrate interest in the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A panel composed of two members of the History and Social Studies Education Department and one member from the TR Inaugural Site board will choose the recipient each fall.
“The fellowship will provide real-world experience,” Nicholls said, “and give students an opportunity to take what they’re learning in the classroom and put it into a professional context.”
The History and Social Studies Education Department will formally announce the gift on Tuesday, October 26, from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, with a reception to follow.
“We are hoping to bring it to the attention of students,” Hudson said. “The goal is to get applications this fall and award the first fellowship for the spring semester.”
About the TR Inaugural Site
The home of then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt’s friend Ansley Wilcox served as the impromptu site of Roosevelt’s inauguration as president on September 14, 1901, following President William McKinley’s assassination at Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition. Located at 641 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site opened on September 14, 1971, as a unit of the National Park Service, the only NPS location in Western New York. The historic house museum with interactive exhibits transports visitors to the excitement of the Pan-American Exposition, as well as the drama of September 1901.
Top photo: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, courtesy of the museum.
Inset photo: Theodore Roosevelt, c. 1910, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number LC-DIG-ppmsca-36424].
Slideshow by Bruce Fox, campus photographer.