Chappy Hall: Outstanding Graduating Student

Chappy Hall of Brunswick, Maine, is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Honors College. Hall is a history major who pursued his passion for music by playing the trombone in several campus musical groups. In addition to participating in the University of Maine Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Concert Band, he joined several campus clubs, was inducted into three honors societies and presented at academic conferences on topics including Protestant Christianity’s role in Afro-British advancement. His research and studies while a student expanded his perspective and understanding of social issues, unconscious biases and the importance of diversity. In fall 2023, Hall was named one of four McGillicuddy Humanities Center undergraduate research fellows and completed a project for his honors thesis titled “Playing History: How Video Games Can Change The Way We Understand the Past.” Hall plans to pursue a graduate degree in French or European history after spending time working and making music.  

Why did you choose to come to UMaine?
I chose to come to UMaine because of the scholarship I was offered. UMaine offered me a full scholarship and the opportunity to pursue tertiary education without taking out student loans. I also came to UMaine because of my passion for music and the opportunity for me to be involved in the band program here.

How would you describe the academic atmosphere at UMaine?
UMaine has a supportive and collective academic atmosphere. Collaboration and encouragement are commonplace.

Describe any research, internships or scholarly pursuits in which you have participated. How have they prepared you for future opportunities in your chosen field?
I have participated in many different academic pursuits and research projects, but I am particularly proud of my work as a McGillicuddy Humanities Center (MHC) undergraduate fellow. As a fellow, I have been researching how historical video games can change the way we understand the past. Undertaking a large research project like this has been a great step in preparing me to pursue a graduate degree in history. 

Beyond academics, what extracurricular activities have occupied your time?
I play trombone in many ensembles on campus including the UMaine Jazz Ensemble, the UMaine Symphonic Band, the UMaine Concert Band and various chamber groups. I have also participated in several clubs over my four years, such as the History and Spikeball clubs.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who made your time at UMaine better, and if so, how?
Professor Liam Riordan is my faculty advisor for my honors thesis and MHC fellowship. He has been incredibly supportive in guiding me through the difficulties of the research process. He has also helped me grow as a student and person, encouraging me to take on opportunities, like presenting at academic conferences, with which I otherwise would not have engaged. 

Did you have an experience at UMaine that shaped or changed how you see the world?
The honors read my freshman year was “Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist,” by Elis Saslow. Reading the story of how Derek Black overcame his racist upbringing and world views as he was exposed to new people and ideas helped me expand my own perspective and understanding of issues like racism. It made me more cognizant of unconscious biases and the lack of diversity in the community in which I grew up.

Describe UMaine in one word and explain.
“Home.” My grandfather was a professor here. My mom graduated from the mechanical engineering program here, and I have really enjoyed my time here. I will always hold an affection for UMaine as a place where I feel at home.

What are your plans for after you graduate?
I plan to pursue a graduate degree in history after taking some time to explore other opportunities. I am interested in studying European or French history in graduate school, but before I attend I would like to work in history and continue to make music.

Contact: Shelby Hartin,