Title: New book chronicles CNU history
Author: Adam Duncan
Publisher: The Captain's Log
Writing a book can be an overwhelming and complicated task. Professor Sean Huevel has personally experienced the entire process very recently.
His book, "The Campus History Series: Christopher Newport University," was just released this Monday. His journey began in an unlikely place.
"I was originally planning to do a project involving William and Mary in the Civil War and what students did during the conflict," said Huevel. "I approached Arcadia
Publishing about doing the topic, and at the time they were already working on a book on William and Mary."
Arcadia Publishing took Huevel in a different direction.
"Within their line of books, they have a campus history series, and in Virginia they've done books on William and Mary, Virginia Tech, VCU , and are in other states throughout the country," said Huevel. "So they said, 'We're kind of good on William and
Mary now, but we'd love to do a book on CNU, and we understand you're faculty there.'"
Huevel took that proposal to President Paul S. Trible, Jr. The pieces all fit together.
Huevel began working on the first comprehensive history of the university.
"What you find when you research the history of CNU is the Trible era and the pre-
Trible era," said Huevel.
Some of his challenges included trying to focus equally on every aspect of the campus's history.
"Generally, everyone is really excited that the university is growing quickly," said Huevel. "But I got this sense from the older generations that they want to make sure that their contributions are remembered, too."
The book spans the entire history of the campus, from its legal founding in 1960 to the present day. CNU is approaching its 50-year anniversary.
During that time span, some facts were blurred.
"What I often discovered was that there were different sides of the story from different people," said Huevel. "For example, I had trouble finding who actually came up with the name of Christopher Newport for the college."
Some aspects were made easier for Huevel, who has a master's degree in history from the University of Richmond.
"I came to find out my grandfather actually made CNU's ceremonial mace, so that gave me an early interest in the school's history," said Huevel. "After I started working here, that interest built and built and built."
His family ties, coupled with his personal experiences, provided for an advantageous situation.
"I was a part of the Trible era, and I have family that was a part of the earlier era," said
Heuvel. "Having those family connections with CNC of the 70s gave me an important link for that era as well, and that gave me important leverage to work with." Huevel, who is currently pursuing a doctorate, gives credit to those around him who helped with his process.
"This was very much a group effort," said Huevel.
"A lot of people had a hand in creating this, from a logistical standpoint, editing the manuscript, things like that. There was so much support. That's what got me through. I think that's what made it a great final product."
The book is available for purchase at the CNU Bookstore, as well as local bookstores and http://www.amazon.com. Heuvel will be conducting a book signing at the Newport News Borders on Saturday, March 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.