Banner photo (left to right): President Duane Nellis, Kelly Tart, David Tart, Rosanna Lauriola, Senator Larry Craig, and John Tart at the award presentation on April 25, 2011.

Contact & Location


Department of History

Physical Address:
Administration Bldg. 315
PHONE: (208) 885-6253
FAX: (208) 885-5221

Mailing Address:
Department of History
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, ID 83844-3175

Former President Duane Nellis, Kelly Tart, David Tart, Rosanna Lauriola, Senator Lary Craig, and John Tart

Getting to Know Thyself May Require Some Digging

By Donna Emert 

A desire to experience the past is helping to launch University of Idaho student David Tart into the future.

Tart was awarded the Sen. Larry E. Craig Scholarship by the former senator himself and University of Idaho President Duane Nellis at a luncheon in the president’s home on April 25.

Tart is the son of John and Kelly Tart, of Rathdrum, and is a 2008 graduate of Lake City High School.

He is now a U-Idaho history major and Air Force ROTC pilot select, with minors in aerospace studies and religious studies and a strong interest in classical studies, including ancient history, art, archaeology and literature.

Tart wanted hands-on experience of ancient history, so he asked his classics professor, Rosanna Lauriola, if she could help him find a related archeological dig. Lauriola located an active dig on Kirik Island, off of Sozopol, Bulgaria, in the Black Sea. There, archeologists are excavating one of several temples to the ancient Greek god, Apollo. The site of the dig is called Apollonia.

Apollo was the god of moderation and intellectual pursuits. The program includes training for beginning archeologists, like Tart, and related seminars on ancient history and culture.

“The study of Apollo relates to one of my favorite philosophers, Socrates,” said Tart. “Socrates said, ‘All I know is I know nothing,’ which relates to what is inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi: ‘Know yourself,’ and ‘Do nothing in excess,’ or balance your life. I think going there, to the archeological site, will help me learn more about those two things. Those lessons are still very relevant.”

Lauriola also pointed Tart toward the Sen. Larry E. Craig Scholarship application to fund the educational adventure. The scholarship will pay plane and train fare for the trip. Tart will use his own savings as well.

Lauriola believes the dig will allow Tart to learn about the past and how it relates to the present, and believes he will pass that lesson on to others when he becomes a teacher.

“David is a special person and student,” said Lauriola. “One of the things that make him special is his deep sense of responsibility and self awareness. He has a remarkable sense of the human community. David’s career goals converge into one goal, that is to put his skills to the service of others.”

As a student of history, Tart confesses abiding interest in two time periods: classical and modern history. He already has international experience as a student of modern culture.

Tart’s education has included volunteer work in the Dominican Republic as one of 180 University of Idaho students who took part in the Alternative Service Break program in the 2009-10 academic year. While abroad, he helped build homes and a community center, and helped host a day camp for kids in the village where he worked.

Tart is a little over six-feet tall and about 175 pounds. The local children affectionately called him “Gigante Blanco,” which translates to “White Giant.” Working and playing with the kids was the most rewarding part of the trip, he said. Language was not a barrier. Laughter served as a bridge between cultures.

He has crammed a lot of adventure into his college education. As a member of the Air Force ROTC, he has taken advantage of an opportunity to go to Alaska to fly “an incentive ride” on a jet with a U.S. fighter squadron.

“The University has been a great launching point for me,” Tart said.

After entering the Air Force when he graduates, Tart hopes to teach history. He believes his on-the-ground and in-air experiences will enable him to better connect with his students, and bring history to life.

Until then, Tart continues to pursue his own full-immersion education. As Socrates suggested, he is learning to know himself and his strengths, and finding balance.

“The old adage is ‘you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been,”’ he said. “That’s why I love history so much.”