Alumni College Live

The best way to celebrate W&L's enduring commitment to lifelong learning is by experiencing it personally. But if you can't join us on campus for one of our stimulating Alumni College summer programs, we invite you to join us live online. Segments will remain archived online once the live broadcast is complete.

"Shaping Russian History Prior to Gorbachev" with Professor Richard Bidlack Monday, June 29, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

Richard Bidlack's talk describes several major themes that have shaped Russia over the many centuries since the start of its recorded history. These ideas and patterns of development acted as catalysts in the collapse of the Soviet Union and have also influenced profoundly Russia’s resurgence up to the present day.

"Mediterranean Civilizations: In Broad Strokes" with Professor Kevin Crotty Monday, July 6, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

In his talk, Kevin Crotty will explore some of the reasons why historians have begun to look at the Mediterranean Sea as  a  persisting historical unit in its own right, which underlay and helped shape the tumultuous events of ancient history. He will offer a brief overview of the somewhat unwieldy amount of time involved (some two millennia’s worth of history), and will look at a specific anecdote from late Antiquity rich in significance for the week’s themes.

"Approaching Shakespeare’s Kings: Understanding Shakespeare’s Stage" with Associate Provost Marc Conner Monday, July 13, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

In Marc Conner's lecture, titled “Approaching Shakespeare’s Kings,” Marc will talk about how the rise of Shakespeare’s theater and the reign of his monarchs Elizabeth and James influenced one another and indeed how monarchy and drama are inseparable for Shakespeare. He’ll talk about the conventions of the Shakespearean stage and how they allowed Shakespeare to engage his audience in the most fundamental political beliefs of the day. Finally Marc will delve into his historical tragedy Richard II to see how Shakespeare gives life to the concept of kingship in his plays.

“Lincoln and the Founders: Slavery, War, the New Birth of Freedom” with Richard Brookhiser Friday, March 20, at 4:00 p.m. EDT

Richard Brookhiser is the author most recently of "Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln" (Basic Books, 2014), and of eight books on revolutionary America: "Founding Father, Rediscovering George Washington;" "Rules of Civility—the 110 Precepts That Guided Our First President in War and Peace;" "Alexander Hamilton, American;" "America’s First Dynasty: The Adamses 1735-1918;" "Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution;" "What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers;" "George Washington on Leadership," and "James Madison." He is author and host of two films by Michael Pack: "Rediscovering George Washington" (PBS, 2002) and "Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton" (PBS, 2011). He was the historian curator of “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a 2004 exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

“Lincoln and Grant: Achieving the Peace” with H.W. Brands Saturday, March 21, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

Henry William Brands was born in Oregon, went to college in California, sold cutlery across the American West and earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. ~ He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History. He teaches history and writing to graduate students and undergraduates. ~ He writes on American history and politics, with books including "The Man Who Saved the Union," "Traitor to His Class," "Andrew Jackson," "The Age of Gold," "The First American" and "TR." Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, "Traitor to His Class" and "The First American," were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. ~ He lectures frequently on historical and current events and can be seen and heard on national and international television and radio. His writings have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Ukrainian.

“Robert E. Lee: Honor in Defeat” with Gary Gallagher Saturday, March 21, at 10:30 a.m. EDT

Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including "The Confederate War" (Harvard, 1997), "Lee and His Generals in War and Memory" (LSU, 1998), "Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War" (UNC, 2008), "The Union War" (Harvard, 2011), and "Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty" (Georgia, 2013). He serves as editor of two book series at the University of North Carolina Press ("Civil War America," with more than 100 titles date, and "Military Campaigns of the Civil War," with 10 titles) and has participated in more than forty television projects in the field. Professor Gallagher was the Times-Mirror Foundation Distinguished Fellow at the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California, in 2001-2002, recipient of the Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professorship for 2010-2012 (the highest teaching award conveyed by the University of Virginia), and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in 2013. Active in the field of historic preservation, he was president from 1987 to mid-1994 of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (an organization with a membership of more than 12,500 representing all 50 states). He also served as a member of the Board of the Civil War Trust and has given testimony about preservation before Congressional committees on several occasions.

"George Gershwin: The Man and the Music" with Professor Timothy Gaylard Monday, June 30, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

A presentation by W&L Professor Timothy Gaylard. Gaylard is Professor of Music at Washington and Lee, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1984. He was also Chair from 2000 until 2008, and again in 2012-2013. A native of Ottawa, Tim received his B. A. and B. Mus. degrees from Carleton University in Canada, and has associateship diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and obtained his M. A. and Ph. D. in musicology from Columbia University. He has performed extensively as a pianist in both Canada and the United States.

"Leonardo da Vinci: A Restless Life" with Professor George Bent Thursday, July 30, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

A presentation by W&L Professor George Bent. George is the Sidney Gause Childress Professor in the Arts and Head of the Department of Art and Art History at Washington and Lee University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Art History from Stanford University in 1993. He came to Washington and Lee University in that year and has been a member of the faculty ever since. Professor Bent teaches courses in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art history, and specializes in Italian art and culture from 1250 to 1450. He has written about artistic production, the function of liturgical images, and institutional patronage in early Renaissance Florence and in 2006 published Monastic Art in Lorenzo Monaco's Florence, a book that focuses on these subjects. He co-founded Washington and Lee's interdisciplinary program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, chaired it (and the Art Department) from 2000 to 2003, and served as Associate Dean of the College from 2003-2006. A two-time holder of Fulbright grants to Italy, he has recently completed a series of lectures on Leonardo da Vinci for The Great Courses Company.

"Charles Dickens and the 19th-century British Novel" with Professor Marc Conner Monday, July 7, at 11:55 a.m. EDT

A presentation by W&L Professor Marc Conner. Marc is the Jo M. and James M. Ballangee Professor of English and the Associate Provost at Washington and Lee. He took degrees in English and Philosophy at the University of Washington (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude), followed by the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English at Princeton University, and has taught at Princeton and at the University of Notre Dame. His books include The Aesthetics of Toni Morrison: Speaking the Unspeakable (2000), Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher (2007), both published by the University Press of Mississippi, and The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered (2012) from Florida, as well as a 24-lecture course for The Great Courses titled How to Read and Understand Shakespeare (2013). In addition, Marc has published dozens of essays and book reviews on American and Irish Modernism. Marc directs a spring term study abroad program to Ireland, which he has run six times since 2000. He is the co-founder of the Program in African-American Studies, and in 2009 received the Anece McCloud Excellence in Diversity Award. His teaching interests include American, African-American, and Irish literature, Shakespeare, literature and philosophy, and the Bible as English literature, and his scholarly interests deal with the intersections of literature, philosophy, and religion. In 2004 Marc received the Ring-Tum Phi Award for teaching excellence at Washington and Lee.

"The Road to War: 1914-1917" with Emeritus Professor Barry Machado Monday, July 14, at 9:00 a.m. EDT

A presentation by W&L Professor Barry Machado. Barry was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1944 and is currently living in retirement in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. diplomatic history from Northwestern University, where he also taught for a year. His dissertation was directed by Richard W. Leopold. For 34 years, 1971-2005, he taught recent U.S. history, U.S. foreign and military affairs, and the history of American business in the history department at Washington and Lee University. He has served as a consultant and director of research for the Lilly Endowment Program as well as the Marshall Undergraduate Scholarship Program of the George C. Marshall Research Library. From 2003-2005 he was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Journal of Military History to which he also contributed book reviews. Throughout his career he was a member of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR). He has delivered papers and chaired panels at various professional meetings and conferences on the subjects of the Cold War and American Business Abroad. His most recent publications and professional activities include: "The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis," The Journal of Military History, 67:1 (January 2003), 295-97; "History, Memory and Holes in the Wall," in Malcolm Muir and Mark Wilkinson, eds., The Most Dangerous Years: The Cold War, 1953-1975 (2005); and In Search of a Usable Past: The Marshall Plan and Postwar Reconstruction Today (2007).