Damien Cregeau '96
Damien Cregeau ’96
When Damien Cregeau ’96 was a child growing up on the Con­necticut coast, he wanted to become a marine biol­ogist who spe­cialized in whales. But because of sea­sickness, he decided to study a dif­ferent species instead.

“I find people inter­esting as a species,” Cregeau thought, “so let’s try that.”

To do that, Cregeau studied history at Hillsdale College, and now works as an inde­pendent his­torian, focusing on Early American, Colonial, and mil­itary history, espe­cially in his home state and the sur­rounding areas.

Cregeau is vice pres­ident of the Con­necticut Society of the Sons of the American Rev­o­lution (CTSSAR), a non-profit state society which seeks to educate the public on American history.

“Our mission is to educate the public about how we became inde­pendent as a country, the era of the Rev­o­lution and our Founding Fathers,” Cregeau said.

Cregeau trans­ferred to Hillsdale College in ’94 as a sophomore and studied history with a minor in political science. Many activ­ities at Hillsdale shaped him, Cregeau said, such as interning with WCSR Radio, studying a semester in Oxford, and working for the Col­legian. Favorite topics of the past fea­tures editor focus on baseball, rock n’ roll, history, and any com­bi­nation of the three: “‘Schindler’s List’: A Pow­erful History Lesson,” “The Zep­pelin Keeps Aloft,”and “New Ball­parks Need History.”

Among the expe­ri­ences, Cregeau said that he remembers fondly history classes with Pro­fessors of History Tom Conner and David Stewart.

Stewart said that Cregeau, even at Hillsdale, was inter­ested in pre­serving history in small towns while also allowing for growth. Cregeau took Stewart’s class on European Mil­itary History and was inter­ested in mil­itary history in other classes as well.

“As a student he was very enthu­si­astic,” Stewart said. “He was one of those guys who always wanted to know more.”

Conner said that Cregeau’s position is not a typical career path among Hillsdale history majors.
“That is one of the things that people can do with a history major,” he said. “It is one of the ways to pursue a lifelong interest in history. His interest is very strong at the local level.”

After grad­u­ation, Cregeau attained his master’s degree in history at Col­orado State Uni­versity. He worked as a draftsman and office manager for Cregeau Asso­ciates, Archi­tects and Engi­neers for a number of years, and also taught history at two preparatory schools until 2007, when he “caught the bug” and became an inde­pendent his­torian.

“History tells a good story,” he said. “There are a lot of dif­ferent facets you can look at and inves­tigate, hordes of books and doc­u­ments. I’ve been able to do that. I’ve been able to get my fingers on his­toric doc­u­ments.”

Among that research, Cregeau has spoken about and is inter­ested in the spy rings of the American Rev­o­lution, such as the Culper Spy Ring. As part of his work with the CTSSAR, Cregeau also helps manage his­toric prop­erties that are also museums, two of which were used as school­houses by Con­necticut state hero Nathan Hale, who was hanged in 1776 for his service as a spy for the Con­ti­nental Army.

Cregeau also said that the Culper Spy Ring was active close to his childhood home in Fair­field, Con­necticut.

“One of the couriers involved in the spy ring is buried in the cemetery where I used to play in as a kid,” he said. “It’s a link between past and present.”

Cregeau has given various talks about spies, colonial archi­tecture, life as a foot soldier, and other topics about Colonial America and the Rev­o­lu­tionary War. He said that his most mem­o­rable talk was given to the Federal Bureau of Inves­ti­gation at the New York office.

“It was great to talk to people who spy pro­fes­sionally now about what it was like to spy pro­fes­sionally back then in the same area,” he said.

Cregeau has also served as the nar­rator for the Benedict Arnold Trail in Con­necticut, and he will be the keynote speaker for the Norwich His­torical Society Annual Meeting. He said that it is important for everyone to know about and remember history.

“It’s important to keep history alive because history does indeed repeat itself,” Cregeau said. “You can pick up pat- terns in human behavior. If you’re a gre­garious people- person like me, you want to share that enthu­siasm.”

Damien Cregeau '96
Damien Cregeau ’96
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Emma Vinton
A senior and English major from Brighton, Michigan, this is Emma’s second year as assistant editor of the Features page for the Collegian. She has interned as a writer and editor at Faith Magazine in Lansing and at Family Research Council in Washington D.C. doing research on marriage and family issues. She enjoys writing about culture, literature, and religion. This is her sixth semester contributing to the Collegian.