Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series

The Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series is dedicated to bringing significant scholars in history, political science, philosophy and religion to the University of South Carolina Upstate and the Upstate community. Sponsored by the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and American Studies at USC Upstate, the series features an address by distinguished scholar each spring.  

2018 Speaker: Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the author of nine best-selling books on American politics, history and culture, will be the featured speaker at the fifth annual Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of South Carolina Upstate at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, 2018 in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center theater.

Noonan, who draws from her experience from both a member of the White House Staff and an observer of politics, will provide “An Evening of Perspective.” She provides a unique and thoughtful analysis of our nation and its leader.

In 2016 Noonan received the Pulitzer Prize for Political Commentary for her coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election. In her most recent book, “The Time of Our Lives,” Noonan chronicles her career in journalism, the Reagan White House, and the political arena.

In 2008 the National Journal dubbed Noonan’s political column indispensable to an understanding of the presidential year, and Forbes Magazine called her column “principled, perceptive, persuasive, and patriotic.” Noonan’s essays have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other publications, and she provides frequent political commentary on television.

Noonan was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1986. In 1988 she was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush when he ran for the presidency. Before entering the Reagan White House, Noonan was a producer at CBS News in New York. In 1978 and 1979 she was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. She holds honorary doctorates from Miami University, St. John Fisher College, University of Portland, Adelphi University, St. Francis College, Ave Maria University, and her Alma Mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Her books include “Patriotic Grace,” “John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father,” a collection of post-9/11 Wall Street Journal columns, “A Heart, a Cross and a Flag,” “When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan,” “The Case Against Hillary Clinton,” “What I Saw at the Revolution,” “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and “Simply Speaking,” 

  • Thursday, March 22, 2018

    Humanities and Performing Arts Center theater   
    800 University Way
    Spartanburg, SC
    Campus Map

    Ticket Information:

    $50 for general public and $35 for faculty, staff and retirees of USC Upstate, which includes a reception. Student tickets will be offered free on a first come, first served basis. 

    Reservations may be made beginning Nov. 6, 2017.

    For more information and reservations, please call 864-503-5235.

    5:30 p.m. Reception
    Humanities & Performing Arts Center theater 

    7 p.m. Presentation
    Humanities & Performing Arts Center theater 

    Handicapped seating is available but is limited. Please advise during reservation.

  • Peggy Noonan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the best-selling author of nine books on American politics, history, and culture. In 2008 the National Journal dubbed Noonan’s political
    column indispensable to an understanding of the presidential year, and Forbes Magazine called her column “principled, perceptive, persuasive, and patriotic.” Noonan’s essays have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other publications, and she provides frequent political commentary on television.

    In her most recent release, The Time of Our Lives, Peggy chronicles her career in journalism, the Reagan White House, and the political arena. Released in November 2015, Peggy has placed all of her best work
    into one place and with her signature wit, takes a sharp look at the American life.

    On April 10, 2017, Noonan received the Pulitzer Prize for Political Commentary for her coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election. Peggy Noonan’s book, Patriotic Grace, published by Collins in 2008, is written in the pamphleteering tradition of Tom Paine’s Common Sense, and is a call for a more elevated national politics. John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father, a look at the life of John Paul II, was published by Viking in 2005.

    Her collection of post-9/11 Wall Street Journal columns, A Heart, a Cross and a Flag, was published by Free Press in 2003. When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan, published by Viking in 2001, was a New York Times best-seller, as was The Case Against Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins, March, 2000).

    Her first book, What I Saw at the Revolution was called “A love letter to the American political process,” by TIME Magazine. Her second book, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was called “the voice of our times” by USA Today. Noonan’s third book, Simply Speaking, was published in paperback as On Speaking Well, in 1999; Forbes Magazine said of it, “Peggy Noonan packs a wallop of practical wisdom and insightful tips for rookie and veteran speechmakers alike…this wee volume, written by one of this century’s premier presidential speechwriters, will guide you correctly.”

    Noonan was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1986. In 1988 she was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush when he ran for the presidency. Before entering the Reagan White House, Noonan was a producer at CBS News in New York. In 1978 and 1979 she was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. She holds honorary doctorates from Miami University, St. John Fisher College, University of Portland, Adelphi University, St. Francis College, Ave Maria University, and her Alma Mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

  • Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. served for 43 years as a professor of American history at the University of South Carolina Upstate. A Spartanburg native, Dr. Edmunds earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of South Carolina, where he specialized in the history of the Palmetto State. In 1967, as the first professor hired by the University of South Carolina Upstate, Dr. Edmunds began a career distinguished by excellence as a teacher, a scholar and an administrator. For more than four decades, Dr. Edmunds inspired Upstate students with his enthusiastic teaching.

    Dr. Edmunds was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of South Carolina history, his deep affection for his native state, and his ability to convey his love for South Carolina to his students. He authored two books, Francis W. Pickens and the Politics of Destruction and The Episcopal Church of the Advent: History and Records, 1848-1998, as well as numerous articles on South Carolina. Over the years, Dr. Edmunds gained a reputation as a popular and engaging speaker on South Carolina history, often giving his time to speak with organizations around the state.

    At USC Upstate, he served in numerous positions from professor to chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences to Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. His contributions go well beyond the University. He served on the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education and as president of the South Carolina Historical Association. In the community, he was active with organizations such as the United Way of the Piedmont and the Spartanburg Civil Rights Committee.

    To all who have worked with Dr. Edmunds, he was more than a colleague; he was a friend and a mentor. Dr. Edmunds, who passed away on December 20, 2016, is survived by his wife Judy McGrath Edmunds and two daughters.

    The Dr. John B. Edmunds Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series is dedicated to bringing significant scholars in history, political science, philosophy, and religion to the University of South Carolina Upstate and the Upstate community. Sponsored by the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and American Studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate, the series features an address by distinguished scholar each spring. 

  • 2017 Speaker: Rick Atkinson

    Presentation topic: Ten Things Every American Should Know about World War II

    Atkinson is among the most celebrated historians of the Second World War, and his Liberation Trilogy — nearly 15 years in the making — has achieved both critical and popular success. It is what every American should know about the greatest epic of the 20th century. In this presentation, Atkinson shares amazing stories and lessons about WWII while discussing its seminal moments and how the war shaped our modern world, created an American heritage, and led to great social change (especially in gender and race relations), medical advancement, and more.

    2016 Speaker: Pulitzer Prize-winner Mr. David McCullough

    Presentation topic: The Wright Brothers

    David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.” He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. A gifted speaker, McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House. He is also one of the few private citizens to speak before a joint session of Congress.

    2015 Speaker: Mr. Bob Woodward of The Washington Post

    Bob WoodardPresentation topic: "Presidential Leadership and the Price of Politics"

    Since 1971, Bob Woodward has worked for The Washington Post where he is currently an associate editor. He and Carl Bernstein were the main reporters on the Watergate scandal for which The Post won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Woodward was the lead reporter for The Post's articles on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that won the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002. In 2004, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time."

    2014 Speaker: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Jon Meacham

    Jon MeachamPresentation Topic: “The Art of Leadership: Lessons from the American Presidency”

    Jon Meacham is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American Lion and an executive editor at Random House, where he also runs The Conversation Online, a site devoted to current affairs and relevant books. Meacham is also an editor-at-large of WNET Public Media, New York’s PBS station, and the former editor of Newsweek. His most recent book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, was published in November 2012.

    This event was a collaboration with the Johnson College Excellence in Innovation Series.