Edward L. Ayers assumed the presidency of the University of Richmond in July, 2007. Previously Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he began teaching in 1980, Ayers was named the National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2003.
A historian of the American South, Ayers has written and edited ten books. The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492. A pioneer in digital history, Ayers created The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, a website that has attracted millions of users and won major prizes in the teaching of history.
Ayers has received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities, served as a Fulbright professor in the Netherlands, and been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves as the national project scholar for “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War,” a reading and discussion program for public audiences, developed in cooperation with the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.