Sewanee President Emeritus Samuel Williamson Will Speak for Huntingdon Traditional Day Commencement
Montgomery, Ala.—Dr. Samuel R. Williamson will deliver the Commencement Address during the Huntingdon College traditional day Commencement Exercises to be held Saturday, May 7, at 9:00 a.m. on the Green at the center of the Huntingdon campus. In case of rain, the ceremony will move inside Catherine Dixon Roland Arena in the Roland Student Center. Approximately 145 students are expected to graduate as members of the traditional day program Class of 2011.
Dr. Williamson has been named Professor of History and Robert M. Ayres Jr. Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and Vice-Chancellor and President Emeritus at the University of the South. During his term as vice-chancellor, which spanned from 1988 to 2000, the University of the South moved into the top thirty national liberal arts colleges and completed the second most successful fund-raising drive among all national liberal arts colleges. In June 2008 Dr. Williamson was appointed historiographer of the University of the South. Earlier he had, as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led the college’s first fund drive. He has also served as assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy; senior tutor and assistant to the dean of Harvard College; professor of history, director of the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, provost and chief academic officer, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has lectured widely in the United States and abroad, including Oxford and Cambridge universities and the University of Vienna.
A native of Springhill, La., Dr. Williamson earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University. After completing post-graduate work as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, he pursued graduate studies in history at Harvard University, from which he earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. He holds honorary degrees from Furman University, the Virginia Episcopal Theological Seminary, Centre College, and the University of the South.
On the national education scene, he has served as chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, held membership in the Presidents’ Council of the NCAA, and served as a consultant to the University of Georgia on matters of admission. He chaired the initial Board of Directors that created the Associated Colleges of the South and has served as chair of the Board of Visitors to Air University at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama. He has also been elected to the Tulane University Athletic Hall of Fame for his service as a football manager in the 1950s.
Dr. Williamson has written and edited numerous books, including the Sewanee Sesquicentennial History: The Making of the University of the South (2008) and The Sesquicentennial of the LAYING OF THE CORNERSTONE of the University of the South, with Gerald L. Smith, John M. McCardell Jr., and Tracey Omohundro (2010). His other publications focus on strategic questions, principally on the origins of the First World War. His most recent study, published with Russel Van Wyk in 2003, is July 1914: Soldiers, Statesmen, and the Coming of the Great War. He authored a chapter on the "The Origins of the First World War" in The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War. His study, The Politics of Grand Strategy: Britain and France Prepare for War, 1904-1914 (1969, 1990) won the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association in 1970 as the best book in international history. In 1991 he published Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War. In 1993 he co-authored a book on nuclear strategy with Steven L. Rearden, The Origins of U.S. Nuclear Strategy; 1945-1953, a study based on access to top secret documentation and intelligence reports from the first years of the Cold War.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college founded in 1854 in Tuskegee, Alabama, and re-located to Montgomery in 1909. For more information about Commencement Exercises, contact the Huntingdon College Office of Communications at (334) 833-4515.