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Gallagher to speak at Fall Convocation

Renowned scholar, teacher will address exceptional students, faculty in October

The University announced Monday that this year’s Fall Convocation speaker will be History Prof. Gary W. Gallagher.

Fall Convocation, which will take place in John Paul Jones Arena on Halloween this year, is a ceremony honoring third-year students earning Intermediate Honors — given to students in the top 20 percent of their class after completing at least 60 hours of coursework — as well as the recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Awards.

“I like the whole idea of using Convocation to mark exceptional accomplishments,” Gallagher said. “That’s the reason why I’m so honored to do this.”

The Jefferson Award is the highest honor awarded by the University and is given to two members of the the University’s community annually. One award, sponsored by the McConnell Foundation, recognizes excellence in service to the University. The other, sponsored by the Alumni Board of Trustees Endowment Fund, recognizes excellence in scholarship.

Gallagher has taught at the University since 1998, and is an award-winning Civil War historian. He has been the John L. Nau III Professor in History of the American Civil War since 1999, and held the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship from 2010 to 2012.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Adams State College in 1972. Later, in 1977 and 1982, respectively, he claimed his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked at the National Archives before joining the Department of History at Penn State University in 1986.

Gallagher was a founder and the first president of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. He has received many awards for researching and writing, including the Tom Watson Brown Book Award for the best book in Civil War Studies, the Lincoln Prize and the Fletcher Pratt Award for the best nonfiction book on the Civil War.

Gallagher recently authored “The American War: An Interactive History,” an online textbook on the Civil War and Reconstruction. He is also the co-editor and co-author of of “Lens of Civil War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War,” to be published this coming spring.

Convocation has been a University tradition for decades, and was held to honor the accomplishments of University members. From 1950 to 1976, the Fall Convocation ceremony was held in the spring to coincide with the Founders’ Day celebration, but has since moved to the fall.