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Timothy Wesley

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Timothy Wesley

My wife and I came to Penn State and the Richards Center in 2004.  We had heard horror stories about how isolating PhD programs can be, and thus came to State College with more than a bit of trepidation.  Thank goodness for the Richards Center!  Of course, the center was most essential to my success as a graduate student because of the generosity of its supporters.  I faithfully received funds for travel, conferences, books, whatever I needed...Bill Blair seemingly always found a way to match up the graduate student with the appropriate and available grant or scholarship.  But there was more to it than that.  The Richards Center became our home, and everyone involved with it became our family.   Bill, Matt Isham, and Barby Singer made a point of inviting grad students and donors to common events, making the graduate experience a little less daunting in the short term and brokering friendships that endure in the long.  

I have fortunately found success since leaving Penn State.  My first book, The Politics of Faith During the Civil War (LSU Press, 2013), was received well, and along with my training while with the Richards Center, helped me gain a tenure track position at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.  In addition to thinking about and planning my next book project, I have presented my subsequent work at national and regional conferences, reviewed numerous books for journals in our field, refereed manuscripts and article submissions for several presses and journals, and written (or am writing) several chapters in upcoming edited volumes on various aspects of Civil War history.  I believe wholeheartedly that none of these good things would have materialized without my affiliation with the Richards Civil War Era Center, the connections in the field it helped me make as a student, the support of its donors, and the mentorship of its Director.

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