A civilian leader for the Department of the Navy and a former president of the University of Richmond will be the guest speakers at the University of Mary Washington’s 2017 commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13.
John D. Burrow, a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, will give the graduate address on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall. Edward Ayers, president emeritus of the University of Richmond, will speak at Saturday’s undergraduate ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m. on Ball Circle of the Fredericksburg campus.
John D. Burrow
John Burrow has spent more than 30 years in service to the federal government. In his current position as a deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, he manages matters associated with the Department of the Navy’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation investments.
As the department’s leader for research and development, he oversees science, technology and prototyping efforts across more than 15 naval warfare centers, including more than 25,000 scientists and engineers. He is the principal architect of the department’s initiatives to accelerate fielding of advanced technologies and warfighting capabilities.
Author and co-author of numerous publications, Burrow has taught at the University of Mary Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Naval Post Graduate School Professional Summer, and the University of Mississippi.
Among his numerous recognitions, Burrow received the Senior Executive Service Presidential Rank Award in 2015, the Navy’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the department’s Commendation for Superior Civilian Service in 2014.
Edward L. Ayers
Edward Ayers served as the University of Richmond’s ninth president from 2007 to 2015. Currently, he is the university’s 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 Award 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 has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.