A brilliant mind, indeed

Lucy BarnhouseLucy Barnhouse ′08
Medieval Renaissance Studies and German double major
Hometown:  King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Children can be persistent. Just ask any parent who has resorted to the dreadful, sometimes regretful, “because I said so”—the commonly invoked universal justification for decisions affecting young inquiring minds. 

Yet Lucy Barnhouse’s parents—both scholars in their own right—broke with tradition when they realized young Lucy, unconventional in many ways, would be an out-of-the-box thinker. “My parents never resorted to the ‘because I said so’ rationale,” joked Barnhouse ′08. ” My mom is a nurturer and listened patiently to all of my nebulous questions. My dad encouraged me to read enormous volumes of books in our family library and then held lengthy discussions with me, delving into what the author was thinking, and how historically correct the book’s adaptation was.”

Their patience paid off. Barnhouse, a homeschooler, had taken it upon herself to read great works of literature such as Robin Hood, Beowulf, and the Chronicles of Narnia, but it was Sir Thomas Mallory’s (c. 1405 – 1471) King Arthur, or LeMorte d’Arthur, that stole her heart, signaling the beginning of a lifelong study of medieval times. “I had a very specific vision for my college experience,” said Barnhouse. “I wanted to be a professor in medieval history.”

As an honors program student at Messiah, Barnhouse created a customized major in medieval renaissance studies, developing relationships with professors similar in nature to the nurturing, challenging, and scholarly environment she grew up with in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. “The openness and enthusiasm of the history department faculty helped convert my incoherent passion into a more disciplined, but no less ardently pursued course of study,” said Barnhouse who is currently pursuing a master’s in medieval history at Fordham University, New York City. “What I valued most about my experience at Messiah was the integration of academics and spiritual life, which are foundational to my understanding of who I am. I was encouraged to engage, not memorize facts, by faculty who develop relationships between people with differing views of the world.”  

Fordham will be home to Barnhouse for a while. The 21-year-old has been awarded a Loyola Fellowship for the entirety of her upcoming doctoral studies, also in medieval history. 

To learn more about Lucy’s experience at Messiah College, visit:






Posted in 2008, Alumni, German, Grad School Bound, Honors Program, Majors & Minors, Medieval Renaissance Studies | Comments Off

Posted on February 3rd, 2009

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