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Congratulations to Carol Reardon!

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Congratulations to Carol Reardon!

After twenty-six years at Penn State, Carol Reardon retired at the end of June. The George Winfree Professor of American History, she has been one of the most highly regarded practitioners of U.S. military history in the nation and an important scholar-in-residence of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

Carol joined Penn State as an assistant professor in 1991. By 2010, she was appointed the Winfree Professor in recognition of her contributions to scholarship, to Penn State, and to the military profession.           

During her career she published a number of fine books, all of them providing insight into various aspects of military operations, military philosophy, and the intersection of war and society. For the Civil War, her book on Pickett’s Charge in Memory and History (1997) captivated readers in her analysis of the difference between perceptions and historical knowledge of an event. It was extremely popular and underwent multiple printings by the University of North Carolina Press. She also wrote a very engaging book in the Brose Lecture/Book Series, With a Sword in One Hand & Jomini in the Other (2012), in which she expanded our knowledge of the contributors to military thinking and demonstrated the wear and tear of continuous operations on common soldiers.            

Lately, she has set a new standard for producing battlefield guides. Together with co-author Tom Vossler, she has opened fresh insight into the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam, and shared some of these findings with participants on the Richards Center Executive Tour.           

She also provided important and significant service to the historical profession, serving a stint as the first woman named President of the Society for Military History.           

Also distinguishing Carol’s career was her dedication to reaching out beyond the academy, sharing her hard-earned knowledge with the military and the public. For the former, she served important posts as visiting professor at both the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She also became famous for her staff rides of battlefields that showed military personnel how they could apply lessons in leadership from the past to contemporary situations. And she has been in high demand to give public talks, with her talents amply demonstrated during her year as the Penn State Laureate. 

“Carol has been an extremely important person in the history of the Richards Center,” said Director Bill Blair. “Her presence provided the cache´ that we were not only a serious center for scholarly research, but also a disseminator of that knowledge to the public. Her expertise in military history and her capacity to engage with the public have been unsurpassed. She will be greatly missed even as we wish her all the best on her transition.”