Wills to kick off election series

Brian Wills, a former professor at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and current director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, will lecture at UVa-Wise on Thursday, April 19.

The lecture, the inaugural event in the Department of History and Philosophy’s “Dirty Politics and Political Messiahs” lecture series, is set for 6 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the C. Bascom Slemp Student Center. The lecture, “Will the Railsplitter Split the Nation?” focuses on the presidential election of 1860.

In his discussion, Wills will examine the great issues of the day along with the four major candidates who emerged as contenders.  The presentation is one of his first following the release of his most recent book, “George Henry Thomas:  As True as Steel,” which will be available for sale and signing before and after the lecture.

Wills taught at UVa-Wise for eighteen years before accepting the directorship of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.  In his career, he has written several books focusing on the Civil War and is considered a premier scholar in his field.  While at UVa-Wise, he served several terms as chairman of the Department of History and Philosophy, president of the Faculty Senate, and received one of only two Outstanding Faculty Awards ever given by the Commonwealth to a professor at the college.

The lecture series and is sponsored by Appalachian Warfare, a grant from the Slemp Foundation for the study of the local area’s Civil War experience.