Located in historic Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Franklin & Marshall is a residential undergraduate liberal arts college.
Its aims are to inspire in young people of high promise and diverse backgrounds a genuine and enduring love for learning, to teach them to read, write, and think critically, to instill in them the capacity for both independent and collaborative action, and to educate them to explore and understand the natural, social and cultural worlds in which they live.
In October 2007 Andrew Chandler, Reader in Modern History in the School of Cultural Studies at the University of Chichester, began to explore the idea of a new Transatlantic relationship between historians with Maria Mitchell, Associate Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College. By the summer of 2009 the idea was taking root in Chichester and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Today this is an established relationship and it offers an exciting opportunity to undergraduates who have discovered American history at Chichester and who now wish to extend their interests in dissertation work.
In the autumn of 2010 two of our students, Heather-Ann Dunlop and Thomas Miles, spent a fortnight at Franklin & Marshall, Heather-Ann researching the thought of the Founding Father of the US Constitution, James Madison and Tom exploring the Watergate scandal.
They were named Visiting Research Scholars and received full access to internet and library privileges. But the experience comprised far more than study. Heather-Ann was given a personal tour of the United States Capitol through a staff assistant from Representative Joseph Pitts’ office.
F&M Student Ambassadors accompanied them to Philadelphia to tour sites of American history and to Washington, DC to see, among other things, the Watergate building and 'Deep Throat' garage; Tom Miles also visited Gettysburg.
Last but not least, Heather-Ann and Tom took in a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game with fireworks. Heather-Ann remarked to the Franklin & Marshall Diplomat, ‘My readings enabled me to form better opinions, develop new ideas and add new dimensions to these ideas … Being able to research in this environment, with the support that was offered to me was an exceptional experience, that will difficult to replicate.' Tom recalled, ‘Being able to walk around the eerie looking Watergate Complex really gave me an impression of the legacy of Richard Nixon … I learned that primary source information is important in understanding the Watergate scandal without the evidence becoming obscured by later interpretations’.
In the present academic year it is hoped that two more Chichester History students will travel to Franklin & Marshall and that two American students will come to work at Chichester. The relationship between the two institutions is sure to prosper.