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Well known local historian and College of Social Sciences alumna Catherine Morison Rehart was honored this afternoon for her dedication to Valley history and her lasting contribution to Fresno State History students.

A fifth-generation member of one of Fresno’s earliest families, Rehart was the author of the “The Valley’s Legends and Legacies” series, six volumes highlighting stories of past life in the Central Valley.  She originally wrote the essays as scripts for KMJ radio, and they are still broadcast during the station’s morning and evening news shows.

Dr. William S. Morison, Rehart’s son and a historian himself, spoke to students about his mother’s passion for history that has now been memorialized in the Catherine Morison Rehart California History Scholarship.  He said her family hopes the scholarship will pave the way for future California historians who demonstrate the same passion as his mother and shared how that passion impacted his own life. “She taught me that knowing the past matters immensely, not only for its own sake, but for the power that it has to help us understand ourselves and our place in the world. Her gift to Fresno was, I think, very similar.”

Fresno County Historical Society Archivist and 2017 College of Social Sciences Graduate Dean’s Medalist Katy Hogue read three essays from Rehart’s “The Valley’s Legends & Legacies” series. In addition to documenting stories from California’s Central Valley, Rehart served on the board for the Fresno Historical Society.  

Fresno State History Department Chair Dr. Ethan Kytle described the recent work History students have done with the Fresno Historical Society. “Over the past four years, more than a dozen Fresno State graduate students have interned at the Fresno Historical Society.  Following in Catherine Morison Rehart’s footsteps, these students have worked on a wide range of local history projects, from helping to interpret a nineteenth-century Chinese Buddhist altar to producing a public exhibition on the last riverboat to try to sail up the San Joaquin River in 1911.”

For the past two years History graduate students have worked alongside Historical Society archivists to produce exhibits at Fresno’s City Hall, as well as assisting in making historical collections accessible to the public.

The College of Social Sciences is pleased to recognize Catherine Morison Rehart as an outstanding local historian with exemplary dedication and optimism.

If you would like more information about the Fresno County Historical Society, please visit their website.