Matthew Plant

Matthew Plant

Matthew Plant, BA Student

BA Student

What drew you to a History major at UB?

The staff at our institution were the main reason I was drawn to the program. I was an undecided major – I knew I wanted to do something humanities based, but was uncertain of which path to follow. All of the History professors create an environment where knowledge and self-expression are able to prosper. That environment, which I first experienced in Dr. Radford’s U.S. History II class, was what made me certain I wanted to be a History major. Every class I have taken since has only reinforced that decision, and I am not only a better student, but also a better person because of it.

What has been your favorite class or experience so far?

My favorite class I have taken throughout the entirety of my college experience has been HIS 162 -- U.S. History II, with Dr. Radford. It was the first history class I took at UB and it turned out to be the most fun and impactful. I was skeptical at first that a 100 level History class could be engaging – but this class was on numerous levels. Dr. Radford gave detailed and engaging lectures, and was very passionate about the subject matter, and her students. Her assignments were thought provoking, and the books we read for class still sit on my bookshelf – as some of my favorite, intellectually stimulating, reads. Tied to the immaculate lecture, was a tightknit recitation. Our TA was as engaging as our professor, and really helped our class, even the non-History majors, thrive. U.S. History II taught me more, in the classroom and out of it, than I had ever imagined one class could; it is the centerpiece of my academic career and led me to the path I am currently following.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how do you see your History major preparing you for that goal?

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school – either for a History MA, or a Degree from the Graduate School of Education. My goal is to teach high school history. I want to break the stereotypes that are associated with the subject – such as it only being memorization of names and dates – and get students reinvested in the past, the future, and themselves. My History major experience will help me prepare for that goal by giving me all the information needed, but, more importantly, it has readied me for how to better present historical happenings. History is alive, and while it may not repeat, it certainly rhymes. I will take everything I have learned in the History department, and pass it down to the future generations, so that they may learn from the past to forge a brighter future.

What are your favorite history spots in the Buffalo area?

My favorite historical spots around Buffalo are the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Forest Lawn Cemetery, and the Buffalo Naval Park. The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural sight is an important landmark to a transformative President. Forest Lawn Cemetery memorializes many influential historical figures – and does so on a beautiful plot of land. The Naval Park was instrumental in my development in history appreciation, and should be experienced by all to gain a better, and hands on, understanding of Naval history.

If you could have dinner with one famous historical person, who would it be?

While the list of possibilities is near limitless, I would most like to have dinner with President Abraham Lincoln. While not a perfect man, President Lincoln always rose above adversity. To be able to have a conversation with him would hopefully illuminate his take on other historical happenings. Also, to talk to someone who was enduring an even greater period of American division, and worked to bring the country back together, would help create a possible solution to modern divisions. His views, while regressive by today’s standards, were seen by many as revolutionary in the nineteenth century. To talk to him about modern day progress of human rights and civil liberties, and how to possibly further them to true equality, would be incalculably valuable to not only myself, but society.