For Dr. Brad Tennant history is not just a hobby or even a career … it is a way of life. The Presentation College American Studies Program Director, whose knowledge on Native American and upper plains history has been influencing students for decades, is set to release his ninth book that he has edited, contributed to, or authored.
The book titled, On This Day in South Dakota History, will be available May 22 on Amazon for both paperback and Kindle. In the book, Tennant presents intriguing, event-driven anecdotes of state history one day at a time.
“State and regional history has always been my main area of interest,” he said. “A lot of people do not fully understand the role that individuals and events in South Dakota history contributed to the larger picture of American and even world history.”
Growing up in the history-rich area of Gettysburg, South Dakota, a young Tennant fell in love with history at a young age.
“I always enjoyed history simply because I grew up in an area that had so much of it,” Tennant said. “In addition to the native cultures that existed along the Missouri River, there were many notable individuals that traveled the Missouri. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, has been the main area of my scholarly success as a writer and presenter. However, I enjoy a variety of periods and topics related to the northern Great Plains.”
Tennant has been a staple in Aberdeen, teaching both high school, and now college students.
“I enjoyed the seventeen years that I taught at the high school level, but teaching at the college level provided me with greater professional opportunities,” he said. “I enjoy the courses that I teach, and it is enjoyable working with older students and helping them gain experiences that will benefit them in their careers.”
For Tennant learning and teaching go hand in hand and he attributes this to his early influences.
“When I first started teaching, I became good friends with three of my former professors – Robert Thompson, Dr. Robert Webb, and Dr. Art Buntin. They were very active in a variety of regional historical societies and conferences with which I then became involved,” he said. “In addition, my mother was a life-long learner regardless of the subject. If there was one person whom I wanted to make proud, it was definitely her.”
Tennant, who teaches survey courses in both American and World history, also teaches a variety of upper level courses including History and the American Indian, the American West, the Middle Ages, and Developing Nations.
“In addition to that, I serve as the American Studies Program director, one of the newer programs at Presentation College,” he said. “I am also the faculty sponsor for Pi Gamma Mu, an international social science honor society open to all students who meet the requirements.”
So how did, On This Day in South Dakota History, get started?
“A publisher contacted me a couple of years ago about doing a book on events in South Dakota history as part of a state series,” Tennant said. “The publisher learned of my researching, writing, and presenting background in the area of South Dakota history and felt it would be a good fit. Overall, it was a fun project.”