James “Bud” Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the “Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus” title by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The title of emeritus is conferred on retired full professors and associate professors, administrative officers, extra-collegiate faculty with continued appointment, and senior extension agents who are specially recommended to the board of visitors by Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board of visitors receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1967, Robertson brought the American Civil War to life not only for thousands of students in his popular classes, but also for millions of others through his award-winning books, frequent television appearances, popular radio essays, and effective outreach and public service.
He was a captivating teacher who offered the nation’s largest Civil War course to an average of 300 students per semester. It is estimated that more than 22,000 Virginia Tech students took a course from Robertson during his 44-year career.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the American Civil War, President John F. Kennedy asked Robertson to serve as executive director of the United States Civil War Centennial Commission. On the 150th anniversary of that war, he was called upon again to serve as a member of the executive committee of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.
Robertson was founding executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, which from its beginning in 1999, sought to educate the public, particularly youth, about the causes and consequences of one of the nation’s most momentous conflicts.
While at Virginia Tech, Robertson compiled one of the nation’s largest collections of Civil War publications for the Virginia Tech University Libraries. He utilized those and other materials as the author or editor of more than 20 books on the American Civil War, including a definitive biography of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson that became an important source for the movie, "Gods and Generals," for which he served as historical consultant.
In addition, he was the executive producer of "Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance," a DVD which was distributed free of charge to every school and library in the commonwealth.
He held the C. P. “Sally” Miles Professorship at Virginia Tech beginning from 1976 until his appointment as Alumni Distinguished Professor in 1992.
Robertson received his bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Emory University.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.
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