Recently students, alumni, faculty and friends of Southeast Missouri State University's Historic Preservation Program gathered to celebrate the program's 30th anniversary. While the idea for the program is now seen as a forward-thinking proposal, 30 years ago its future was uncertain.
One of the programs founders, Dr. Arthur H. Mattingly, said the university was initially reluctant to move forward with the program but in the end agreed to accept it.
Even with the university on board, final approval of the program was uncertain when state higher education officials initially rejected the plan. At the time other historic preservation programs were at the graduate level and connected to architecture or archaeology programs, not history. But after an in-person presentation, the program received state approval.
Since the program's inception, over 200 students have graduated with bachelor's degrees in historic preservation. Dr. Steven J. Hoffman, coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program, estimates that about 75 percent of the students in the program either moved on to graduate school or received a job in historic preservation within a year of graduating.
The university's program has another distinction. According to Hoffman, Southeast is one of only seven or eight institutions that offer undergraduate degrees in historic preservation.
While starting a university program is a laudable achievement, its success is determined through its graduates. After 30 years, the program's graduates continue to succeed in their field.
Congratulations the university. faculty, alumni and students on the program's success over the past 30 years.