Dr. Patrick Connelly
Associate Professor of History
Dr. Patrick Connelly arrived at Montreat College in 2007. He earned a B.A. in history from the University of South Carolina; an M.A. in theological studies and an M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando; and an M.A. in history from Emory University.
Professor Connelly earned his Ph.D. from Emory University in American cultural and intellectual history. His dissertation explores the intersection between the American reception of Friedrich Nietzsche’s thought and the decline of Protestant cultural authority.
Professor Connelly believes that William Faulkner had it right when he said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” History is not merely about the past, Connelly notes, but about the present and future. “We don’t live our lives in a vacuum, so history provides the narratives that explain our present and inform our future.” He enjoys challenging students to see the value of historical understanding in world civilization and American history classes. He also appreciates the challenge our current cultural context provides to historical understanding. “I read an article recently about how our technological and social media environment has left our culture awash in a sea of ‘nowness.’ We are so present-minded, whether about important or trivial things, that we neglect the vital stories and insights of the past.”
Outside the classroom, he enjoys spending time with his wife and twin boys, listening to U2, and following Gamecock football, Cubs baseball, and Arsenal soccer.
Dr. William Forstchen
Professor of History, Faculty Fellow
Dr. William Forstchen earned his B.A. from Rider College and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. at Purdue University. He is currently developing his doctoral dissertation for publication, titled, The 28th USCT, Indiana’s African Americans Go to War, 1863–’65. He is also the author of 28 novels and more than three dozen short stories in the areas of speculative fiction and science fiction. Among his writings are the books of the best-selling science fiction series The Lost Regiment and 1948, which was cowritten with the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Dr. Forstchen was awarded a 1998 Pew Grant to conduct archaeological research on Mongol encampment sites in Russia’s Saratov region; he addressed Washington, D.C.’s Society for Military History in 1995. A decade earlier, he was a finalist in Maine’s Teacher Astronaut program.
Prof. Benjamin Brandenburg
Assistant Professor of History
Prof. Benjamin Brandenburg joined the Montreat College faculty in 2014. After completing his secondary education in Berlin, Germany, he earned B.A. from Northwestern College and is completing his Ph.D. in International History at Temple University. His book project, Evangelical Empire: Globalizing the Gospel in the Age of American Superpower, traces the surprising global trajectory of America’s Good News from the halls of power in Washington D.C. to the sports stadiums of Europe, Africa, and Asia. To put this into a local context, he investigates how exactly Montreat’s most famous resident—Rev. Billy Graham—traveled world as God’s Ambassador. As a teacher, his goal is to use the disciplines of history and international relations to shape students into critical and faithful thinkers, talented writers, and compassionate citizens in a changing world.
Prof. Brandenburg is still adjusting to the streams of Montreat after moving here from the streets of Philadelphia, but he’s doing better than his city-slicker Weimaraner dog who is continually spooked by falling walnuts. He enjoys spending time with his growing family, cycling and fly-fishing the hills of Pisgah Forest, and dreams of a USA-Germany World Cup final.
Mr. Thomas L. Oxenreider
Instructor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Assistant Dean for Work and Vocation
Mr. Tom Oxenreider has a B.A. in Economics from The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and an M.B.A. from Wheeling Jesuit University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Worldview Studies from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario. He came to Montreat College in 1994 to work in Career Services and Residence Life. Shortly after coming to the college, he began teaching and has taught a range of classes in Interdisciplinary Studies and Business Administration. In his current position, he is focusing on the first-year student course (IS 102: Foundations of Faith and Learning), along with developing campus work opportunities for students. He enjoys assisting students with vocational discernment. Dr. Oxenreider’s interests are in the areas of vocational exploration, Christian theology of work, and the integration of faith and learning.
Mr. Oxenreider grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania and, while a student at Pitt-Johnstown, became involved in campus ministry. When God found him on a college campus, it forever changed his life. Following his graduation from college, he joined the ministry of the Coalition for Christian Outreach and worked on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University as a graduate assistant in Campus Life while completing his master’s in business administration. He married his wife, Anne, in 1992, and they have a daughter, Helen, born in 1998. He loves spending time with his family, listening to music, cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies, and playing with nearly any type of electronic gadget