In March, Benjamin Roy ’21 of Bostic, N.C., was named one of the 18 winners of the 2020 Beinecke Scholarship, selected from more than 664 college juniors in 110 undergraduate institutions nationwide. Roy, a history major with minors in Civil War era studies and public history, is the first Gettysburg College recipient of the scholarship.
“Winning the Beinecke Scholarship is a huge step forward toward my lifelong goal of researching and writing history professionally,” Roy said. “The money and support it provides will enable me to continue studying history in graduate school, with the aim of eventually receiving a doctorate and teaching history at the collegiate level.”
Roy has begun considering graduate programs both in the United States and United Kingdom, where he aims to study 19th century American history and 20th century European history.
This past summer, Roy centered his Kolbe Fellows project around higher education and manhood in America prior to the Civil War. He canvassed archives, including those at Indiana University’s special collections, in pursuit of a vast understanding of how faculty, students, and parents related to each other through the lens of masculinity in the 19th century. Advised by History Prof. Pete Carmichael, Roy’s project was accepted to the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins, prior to its cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Beinecke committee was clearly impressed by his commitment to dig deep into archival sources and to ask big questions about those documents,” Carmichael said. “They saw in Ben a student working at a very high intellectual level—evidence that he will have a successful and distinctive graduate career.”
Prior to the Kolbe Fellowship, Roy spent the summer after his first year at Gettysburg working as a seasonal historian at the Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord, Mass. Roy’s research experience, combined with his studies in the classroom and involvement with the Civil War Institute (CWI), have also prepared him for the Beinecke Scholarship honor. He has written for the CWI blog, contributed research to the Institute’s digital project, Killed at Gettysburg, and currently works for a history project supervised by History Prof. Ian Isherwood, entitled the First World War Letters of Jack Peirs.
For Roy, it was the Gettysburg College faculty and staff that inspired and shaped him. He cites Carmichael, Isherwood, History Prof. Timothy Shannon, and Dean of Student Scholarly Engagement Maureen Forrestal as guiding figures who aided his success.
“To me, Gettysburg College is its professors and faculty, and I am profoundly grateful to those who have lent their time to my development as a scholar,” Roy said.
By Phoebe Doscher ’22
Photo by Shawna Sherrell