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.  

2017 Speaker: Rick Atkinson

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

Rick AtkinsonAtkinson 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.

  • Thursday, March 16, 2017

    USC Upstate Campus  
    800 University Way
    Spartanburg, SC
    Campus Map

    Ticket Information:

    $45 for reception, book signing and presentation* 
    Signed books are available for purchase

    *USC Upstate faculty, staff and retiree rate: $35.

    For more information, please call (864) 503-5235.

    5:00-5:45 p.m. VIP Reception*
    Humanities & Performing Arts Center Stage
    *Reserved for event sponsors only.

    5:00-6:45 p.m. General Reception
    Humanities & Performing Arts Center Courtyard

    7:00-8:15 p.m. Presentation
    Humanities & Performing Arts Center Theatre 

    Books available for purchase:

    The Long Gray Line
    An Army at Dawn
    The Guns at Last Light

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

    Reservations are required either online or by calling (864) 503-5235. 

    Rick Atkinson recently completed The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945, the final volume of his Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the U.S. military’s role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize and was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan’s classics, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far.” The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from the New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written…and rooted in the sight and sounds of battle.” The Guns at Last Light, covering the last year of the European war, from Normandy to Berlin, was published in May 2013, and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Sir Max Hastings in The Wall Street Journal called it, “A magnificent book… Atkinson’s account of D-Day is both masterly and lyrical.” 

  • Rick Atkinson recently completed The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945, the final volume of his Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the U.S. military’s role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize and was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan’s classics, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far.” The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from the New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written…and rooted in the sight and sounds of battle.” The Guns at Last Light, covering the last year of the European war, from Normandy to Berlin, was published in May 2013, and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Sir Max Hastings in The Wall Street Journal called it, “A magnificent book… Atkinson’s account of D-Day is both masterly and lyrical.”

    Atkinson will be on campus on March 16, 2017. 

    Atkinson is also the best-selling author of The Long Gray Line, a narrative saga about the West Point class of 1966, and Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War. He also wrote In the Company of Soldiers, an account of his time with General David H. Petraeus and the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003; the New York Times Book Review called the book “the most intimate, vivid, and well-informed account yet published” on that war, and Newsweek cited it as one of the ten best books of 2004. He is the lead essayist in Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery, published by National Geographic in 2007.

    Atkinson’s many awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to The Washington Post for a series of investigative articles directed and edited by Atkinson on shootings by the District of Columbia police department. He is winner of the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting, the 2003 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award, the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, and the 2014 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize for lifetime achievement, and the 2015 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. Atkinson has served as the Gen. Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College, where he remains an adjunct faculty member.

    Atkinson served as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and senior editor for 25 years at the Washington Post. His most recent assignments were covering the 101st Airborne during the invasion of Iraq, and writing about roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. Previously he served as the assistant managing editor for investigations, a position that gave him the responsibility of investigative reporting at the newspaper. Atkinson’s journalism career began at the Pittsburg (Kansas) Morning Sun in 1976; in 1977, he moved to the Kansas City Times, before going to the Washington Post in 1983. Among other assignments, he served as the Post’s Berlin bureau chief, covering not only Germany and NATO, but also spending considerable time in Somalia and Bosnia.

    Born in Munich, Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He graduated with honors in English from East Carolina in 1974 and holds a master of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Dr. Jane C. Atkinson, a researcher and clinician at the National Institutes of Health, live in the District of Columbia. They have two grown children. 

  • 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. 

  • David McCullough

    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.

  • Thank you to our sponsors!

    • Garrow and Chris Crowley '11
    • Mr. and Mrs. J. Michael Kohler
    • The Capital Corporation
    • Ann and Stewart Johnson
    • Mr. Frederick B. Dent
    • Mr. and Mrs. Chris Dorrance
    • Susu and George Johnson
    • Carter and Geordy Johnson
    • J M Smith Corporation
    • Dorothy and Julian Josey