For Immediate Release


Dr. Edward L. Ayers

DANVILLE, VA, March 9, 2009 – Dr. Edward L. Ayers, President, University of Richmond, will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, March 17, for the Robert V. Shaver Arts and Humanities Lecture Series at Danville Community College. The presentation, entitled “What Lincoln Was Up Against: The Context of Leadership,? will be held at 3 p.m., in Oliver Hall (Temple Building Auditorium, Room 110). The lecture is open to the public.

Ayers, who assumed the presidency of the University of Richmond in July 2007, will discuss Abraham Lincoln’s conflicts, mistakes, miscalculations, and competing values. According to Ayers, Lincoln’s leadership can only be understood by grasping the challenges he faced. Those challenges, Ayers notes, included not only the Confederacy and its army but also a starkly divided Northern electorate and public opinion. Lincoln had to win a war at home as well as one against a more obvious enemy.

Ayers joined Richmond from the University of Virginia, where he was dean of arts and sciences and a professor of history. He began teaching in 1980 and was named National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2003.

A historian of the American South, Ayers has written and edited 10 books. His The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history, as well as the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492. A pioneer of digital historical research, Ayers created The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, a Web site that has attracted millions of users and won major prizes in the teaching of history.

Ayers has received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities, served as a Fulbright professor in the Netherlands, and been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Upon joining the University, Ayers launched a strategic planning process that has resulted in The Richmond Promise, a blueprint for the university’s progress over the coming years that establishes priorities and focuses energies. Its over-arching goal is to make Richmond a model institution by sustaining superb faculty and staff, administering according to the highest standards, and extending accessibility and affordability to a diverse student population while offering a learning experience unlike any other college or university.

Under Ayers, and despite the downturn in the world economy, the University has reaffirmed its policy of truly need-blind admission—ability to pay is not a factor in admission decisions, and the University pledges to meet 100 percent of admitted U.S. students’ demonstrated financial need.

The DCC lecture series is named in memory of Robert V. (Bob) Shaver, a long-time English professor, film buff and former administrator. Shaver began his teaching career at the Danville Branch of Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in September 1958, and he was among the faculty who assisted with the transition as Danville-VPI merged with Danville Technical Institute to form Danville Community College in 1968. In addition to serving as a Division Chair, Shaver also served as Interim Dean of Instruction and Student Development and as the college’s interim president during January and February 1992. Shaver was also responsible for the creation of many arts and humanities projects at the college, including the annual DCC Celebration of the Arts, now in its 27th year.

For more information about the presentation or the Shaver Lecture Series, contact DCC at 434.797.2222, or click here.

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