Belmont College

BPR Alumni

Graduates of the BPR program have followed many paths after leaving Belmont. Through a cooperative agreement, the College has continued to feed the National Park Service’s Preservation Training Center with well-qualified employees.  Belmont students have found employment with private preservation contractors, state-wide non-profits, and historic house museums such as: Monticello, Stratford Hall, Mount Vernon, and Graceland. 

Many Belmont BPR students find that they have a knack for a specific trade and enter into a career in masonry, metal working, decorative painting, plastering, or stained glass.  Some students do not plan to enter the trades but choose to take advantage of Belmont’s excellent technical education to pursue careers in government agencies, non-profit groups and architectural firms.  There are even some students who use the BPR program and its national connections as a starting point in order to further their education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The quality of a program is best expressed in the success of its alumni.  Below are a series of successul Belmont BPR graduates.

Carol Richardson - BPR Alumni

Carol Richardson, Restoration Specialist for The Thomas Jefferson Foundation

"The Belmont BPR program was life-changing for me."

Being from a small factory town, Carol Richardson was looking to expand her career opportunities.  An interest in old houses and historical places, lead Carol to enter the BPR program at Belmont.  Although being a student in the program was a natural fit for her interests, at age 33 entering college seemed overwhelming.  Fortunately, in addition to her husband and fellow classmates, Carol had support from BPR faculty members who she found to be friendly and eager to help her succeed in the classroom.  Belmont’s BPR faculty and curriculum, along with hands on experience prepared her for a successful career that she really enjoys; she is a restoration specialist for The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The majority of Carol’s work at Monticello is painting and window glazing however she also assists with many of the restoration duties.

“The BPR program exposed me to many wonderful opportunities.  When I started going to Belmont, I was introduced to people from all walks of life and from all over the country.  It made me eager to experience new things and go to new places,” Carol said.  “I enrolled in a course that took us to different historic places that were within driving distance.  That class changed my life.  One of the places we visited was Monticello where I currently work.  As I approach my 13th year at Monticello, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a great job that I love.”

Phil Mark - BPR Alumni

Phil Mark, Director of Preservation at Stratford Hall

"The experience and knowledge that I gained while in the Belmont BPR program was immeasurable."

Phil Mark ,’03 came from Flushing, Michigan to attend Belmont’s BPR program.

The Belmont BPR program allowed Phil to gain experience with a wide range of materials that are used in historic structures.  Most of this experience at Belmont was hands-on and was exactly what he was looking for.  The BPR program also provided him with great opportunities to network within the field, with other students, and more importantly, professional craftsmen, who perform restoration work every day.

“The Belmont BPR program contributed to my success by providing me with the hands-on training that has made my career path possible,” said Phil.  “I have a unique skill set and working knowledge from both sides of Historic Preservation, the academic and hands-on experience.  Without that experience and the mentoring that I gained from Belmont, I would not be where I am today.”  Phil is currently the Director of Preservation at Stratford Hall located in Stratford, VA. Stratford Hall is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.  Also, two signers of the Declaration of Independence were raised in this house.  Phil is responsible for the preservation of 15 historic structures, cyclical maintenance, project management of restoration work, and architectural research.

Phil feels strongly that if individuals are interested in the hands-on side of Historic Preservation then Belmont is the place to be.  The Belmont BPR program can offer the opportunities that will open doors in the field that can help guide you in your career.

Nate Ramsier - BPR Alumni

Nate Ramsier, Historic Preservation Training Center 

"I owe much of my career success to the Belmont BPR program."

Ohio Valley native Nate Ramsier,’09 knew that he didn't want to enter the workforce directly out of high school, but he didn't want to commit to an expensive four-year college either.  After some research, Nate decided that Belmont was the best fit for him.  He was able to save money while living at home and attend the College on the Trustees Scholarship, which gave him tuition-free enrollment.

Today, Nate is working for the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), a division of the National Park Service, in Frederick, Maryland.

Nate is proud of his accomplishments and his time spent in the program, “The BPR program at Belmont was life-altering for me.  I immensely enjoyed my two years at the College due in large part to the friendships that I made.  I don't think I only speak for myself when I say that BPR students share a special bond.” He encourages potential BPR students to visit the S&E Building (located near the Main Campus in St. Clairsville, Ohio) in addition to talking to the faculty, students that are currently enrolled in the program, and to BPR alumni.  According to Nate building preservation is a unique field of study, so getting a decent grip on what it entails is an important thing to do before enrolling.

When asked about how the BPR program at Belmont contributed to his success, Nate says, “Above the preservation theoretical, technical, and hands-on skills I learned, I would say that it was the networking in BPR that was the foremost contributor to my success.  My position with the Historic Preservation Training Center was the dream job I had pictured when I started BPR.  It simply wouldn't have happened without Belmont BPR Program Chair, Dave Mertz and the BPR alumni that were employed at the training center.”


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