LaGrange College is going through an exciting time on campus as students and faculty alike are finishing up 2019. Along with the newest class of students also comes a new face for the history department. History students and faculty would like to welcome Dr. Richard Soash to LaGrange College.
Soash grew up north of Tampa and lived his entire life up until this year in Florida. He continued his formal education at Florida Southern College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in American History. Dr. Soash would continue his Florida State schooling from 2011-2018, obtaining his master’s degree and, later, his doctorate. His senior dissertation specialized in immigration policy during the Progressive Era, centering around Middle Eastern immigrants.
Dr. Soash talks about how he found his way to LaGrange College. The main appeal for LaGrange was its similar style of schooling to FSC, saying, “Florida Southern in a lot of ways is like Lagrange College, being a small liberal arts school connected to the Methodist Church.”
Dr. Soash has much to offer to both new and returning students due to his broad area of study in American history. He discusses his passion for history, commenting, “I appreciate the human stories that come out of history. Personalities, times of cooperation, conflict, and just how all that fits together to tell a narrative.”
From his time at Florida State, he has experience with teaching class sizes ranging from ten to two hundred students per class. He accomplishes an attentive class by prioritizing remaining as engaged and organized as possible in class.
“Each lecture has its own narrative structure to keep students on track,” Dr. Soash said while discussing the importance of class time usage. To keep students focused, Dr. Soash often will play songs before class related to that day’s topic. Afterwards, Dr. Soash likes to use historical documents and other particularly surprising or thought-provoking sources to promote class discussion.
Dr. Soash discusses the importance of students looking at primary sources to better grasp the information, “It’s one thing to hear about history in a lecture, but it’s another to see to see actual footage of it, where it hits you at a deep and visceral level.”
Currently, Dr. Soash is teaching a class on the Great American West in the Wild, Wild, West course. In the up-coming Jan Term, he will be teaching a course called Medicine and Society. This interim course will be focused on exploring the history of medicine throughout the United States. Dr. Soash sees importance in this field of history for “anyone who’s interested in questions involving diseases and public health.”
In the spring, Dr. Soash will be offering a mix of lower level and upper level classes. This will open up the history department’s schedule in order to offer more variety. “It’s nice to have pressure off Dr. Shirley so we can have more availability in classes,” Ariana Kinard, Vice President of Phi Alpha Theta, said.
Dr. Soash has definitely excited the students of the history department as they look forward to what he has to offer LaGrange College.
(Featured Photo: Dr. Soash [left] teaching student Ariana Kinard [right] during class time)
Gabe was born in Savannah, GA but moved to Newnan, GA when he was eight. He is a junior history major with a military history minor. He has written for The Hilltop News in previous years.