April 11, 2018

Annual event on Thursday, April 26 showcases outstanding student research

When he arrived at Centenary University last September, Sean Graham of Washington, N.J., wasted no time embracing the University’s emphasis on scholarly research. The freshman secondary education major chose to study historical interactions between Centenary University and Hackettstown for a project that will eventually lead to his senior thesis. 

Graham and more than 100 other Centenary students will present their research at the University’s third annual Academic Symposium on Thursday, April 26. The event will feature performances, demonstrations and presentations representing 16 academic programs, providing an overview of the excellent opportunities for independent research offered to Centenary students. The public is invited to the free event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the Edward W. Seay Administration Building.

A Presidential Scholar, Graham visited archives maintained by the Hackettstown Historical Society, as well as Warren County and the state. He discovered that the University’s 10 original funders—who donated a combined 10 acres of land and $10,000—were motivated by religion, civic pride and simple economics in supporting the fledgling institution. Property values spiked after Centenary’s founding, prompting several funders to sell land surrounding campus at a tidy profit. Now the secondary education major, who plans a career as a history teacher, wants to develop a curriculum that incorporates local history into the study of world events. “Local history can be used to teach broader aspects of history,” Graham said. “It’s hands on. You can see it and feel it.”   

The Academic Symposium showcases original student research like Graham’s, that makes important connections between theory and practical applications, according to Robert Battistini, Ph.D., associate professor of English, who organized the symposium with Christine Floether, Ph.D., director of academic transitions and associate professor of psychology. “The Academic Symposium is an opportunity to celebrate all that we do so well at Centenary,” he said. “The cumulative force of these simultaneous productions will attest to the breadth and depth of Centenary mind and spirit.” 


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.


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