Edward Ayers is President Emeritus of the University of Richmond, where he now serves as Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities. 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 10 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. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2013.
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. He serves as co-editor of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States at the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab and is a co-host of BackStory with the American History Guys, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast.
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.
Awards for Scholarship
- National Humanities Medal, awarded by the President of the United States, 2013
- Albert J. Beveridge Award, American Historical Association, for the best English-language book on the history of the US, Canada, or Latin America from 1492 to the present, 2004
- Bancroft Prize for Distinguished Book in American History, Columbia University, 2004
- Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, School of Graduate Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement, Yale University, 2003
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected as member in 2001
- E-Lincoln Prize for Best Digital Project on the Era of the American Civil War, given by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute and Gettysburg College, 2001 ($40,000)
- Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award, given by the Southern Historical Association for the best book in Southern history, 1993
- James Rawley Prize, given by the Organization of American Historians, for best book on the history of race relations in the United States, 1992
- National Book Award, Finalist for Nonfiction, 1992
- Pulitzer Prize, Finalist for History, 1992
- J. Willard Hurst Award for Best Book in American Legal History, cowinner for 1984-1985, Law and Society Association
Awards for Teaching and Service
- National Professor of the Year for Research and Doctoral Universities, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Council for Support and Advancement of Education (CASE Award), 2003
- James Harvey Robinson Prize for Outstanding Aid to Teaching History, American Historical Association (AHA), 2002
- State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, 1991 (a $5,000 award and statue presented by Virginia's Governor)
America on the Eve of the Civil War, edited with Carolyn R. Martin (University of Virginia Press, 2010)