Award-winning Civil War historian Gary W. Gallagher will speak at the University of Virginia’s annual Fall Convocation, to be held Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena.
The ceremony will include the awarding of Intermediate Honors to the top 20 percent of undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 hours of coursework in their first two years. Also, two members of the University community will receive the Thomas Jefferson Awards, the highest honor given by the University. Fall Convocation traditionally kicks off Family Weekend.
The Public Occasions Subcommittee of the Commencement and Convocations Committee each year provides the president with a list of potential speakers for Fall Convocation. Gallagher, a U.Va. faculty member since 1998 and a much-sought-after expert on Civil War topics who has led popular battlefield tours, emerged as this year’s choice.
“I am deeply honored to be invited to speak at the Fall Convocation in 2014,” said Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War. “I see it as a splendid opportunity to engage with members of the University community within a context of acknowledging unusual achievement.”
Gallagher is the author or editor of more than 30 books, including most recently “Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty” (2013), “The Union War” (2011) and “Causes Won, Lost and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War” (2008). He has also published more than 150 articles in scholarly journals and popular historical magazines.
His many awards for research and writing include the Tom Watson Brown Book Prize for the best book in Civil War studies, the Lincoln Prize (shared with three others), the Laney Prize for the best book on the Civil War and the Fletcher Pratt Award for the best nonfiction book on the Civil War.
Gallagher has a longstanding interest in the field of historic preservation. He was a founder and first president of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (the first national organization of its kind) and has served on the board of directors of the Civil War Trust.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Adams State College in Colorado in 1972 and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977 and 1982, respectively. After serving as a National Archives archivist for nearly a decade, he joined the Department of History at Penn State University in 1986.
Gallagher has taught at U.Va. since 1998 and has been the John L. Nau III Professor in History of the American Civil War in the Corcoran Department of History since 1999. He also held the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the University’s highest teaching award, from 2010 to 2012. He is a recipient of the 2013 Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education, awarded by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
In 2013, Gallagher joined U.Va.’s Miller Center as a senior faculty associate, where he supervised the center’s new Historical Presidency lecture series, an initiative that offers perspective on how presidential leadership has evolved over time.
He recently finished an online textbook on the Civil War and Reconstruction titled “The American War: An Interactive History.” He is also the co-editor and co-author of “Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War,” which will be published next spring.
U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan invites all faculty members who are not in classes or meetings to participate in the academic procession and ceremony. Although academic dress is not required, regalia can be obtained through the University Bookstore at 434-924-3721. The deadline for reserving caps, gowns and hoods is Oct. 3.
Nominations for the Thomas Jefferson Awards remain open until Sept. 25.
For information on Fall Convocation, visit the website of the Office of Major Events or call 434-982-3099.