New lecture series will bring Civil War historians to Blacksburg, Roanoke

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 14, 2009 – Virginia Tech alumnus William C. Latham, former member and vice rector of the university's board of visitors, has established the William C. Latham Lecture Series in Civil War History, which will bring outstanding Civil War historians to campus and will be organized by the university’s Virginia Center for Civil War Studies.

Each speaker will deliver three public lectures, which are open to the public at no charge, during the course of an academic year.

Richard M. McMurry, a noted author and former professor, has been selected as the first Latham Lecturer. McMurry will deliver his first lecture, “Southern Armies East and West,” on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Haymarket Theatre of Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus. His second lecture will be presented at the Hotel Roanoke, with his third talk scheduled on the Blacksburg campus. Topics, dates, and times for the last two events will be announced later.

McMurry, who has taught at Valdosta State and North Carolina State universities, has written several books on the Civil War. Among them are Two Great Rebel Armies, John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence, and Atlanta, 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy. The Virginia Military Institute and Emory University alumnus is currently writing a biography of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.

“We are immensely pleased with the generosity of Mr. Latham and look forward to beginning this lecture series two years before the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. We feel particularly fortunate to have secured one of the nation’s important Civil War historians to kick off this annual lecture series,” said James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of History and executive director of the Civil War center.

Latham received his bachelor¹s degree in general agriculture with a minor in business administration from Virginia Tech in 1955.

The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies was established in 1999 to build on the national reputation of Robertson and a massive collection of Civil War books in Newman Library.

Free parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Shultz Hall Lot, located off Alumni Drive near the North Main Street campus entrance. Find more parking information online or call (540) 231-3200.