About Me

John Van Slyke

I have never quite understood Santayana’s argument that we should study history simply to avoid past mistakes. Aside from souring us to what we might expect to find, this approach is simply off the mark. The past is a remarkable source of intrigue and excitement. There is much more behind us to arouse our curiosity and passion than to be loathed or avoided. This is the manner in which I approach the study of history. I hope you’ll consider joining me. I began studying history in my native Wisconsin at the ‘real UW.’ Shortly thereafter, I merged my passion for the outdoors and young people by becoming a wilderness therapist in Montana. Several years of sleeping on the ground and eating from a metal cup convinced me to return to school, attending the University of Montana on a James Madison Fellowship. Upon completing graduate school, I taught social studies at Hellgate High School in Missoula, where I met my wife. A Walla Walla native, she brought me here where I am now excited to be part of the WWCC learning community. We have two sons who keep us busy and extremely happy.