Richard W. Smith Lecture in Civil War History

OWU President Matt vandenBerg (standing) with Richard Smith and his wife Betty (both seated)

Dr. Smith has actively promoted the importance of learning history from the first time he stepped onto Ohio Wesleyan's campus as a professor in 1950 to his current role as an emeritus professor. Dr. Smith's remarkable legacy includes no fewer than 18 of his former students having continued their education through the doctoral level. For all of his students, Dr. Smith succeeded in instilling in them a life long love of learning and history. He remains a role model having published his book: Bishop McIlvaine, Slavery, Britain & the Civil War in 2014. His former students created The Richard W. Smith Lecture in Civil War History in Dr. Smith's honor to educate students and the public about the Civil War.

Save the Date: Richard W. Smith Lecture in Civil War: September 30, 2024

Past Lectures

  • 2023The Howling Storm: Weather, Climate, and the American Civil War – Kenneth W. Noe, Ph.D.
    Stream OWU Video | Press Release
  • 2022An End or Beginning: Lee's Army After Appomattox – Caroline E. Janney, Ph.D.
    Stream OWU Video | Press Release
  • 2021General William S. Rosecrans and the Pitfalls of Command – Mark Grimsley, Ph.D.
    Stream OWU Video | Press Release
  • 2020 – No Lecture due to COVID-19
  • 2019Generalship and Army Culture: A Study of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac – Joseph T. Glatthaar, Ph.D.
    Press Release
  • 2018The Transformative Fourteenth Amendment: The Constitutional Amendment That Reshaped America – Michael Les Benedict, Ph.D.
    Stream OWU Video | Press Release
  • 2017U.S. Grant: Soldier and Stateman – Joan Waugh, Ph.D.
    Stream OWU Video | Press Release
  • 2016 – "Every Man Looked like a Soldier:" The U.S. Colored Troops and the Civil War – John David Smith, Ph.D.
    Press Release
  • 2015The Final Battles of 1865 and the Ongoing Civil War – Peter Carmichael, Ph.D.
    Press Release
  • 2013Gettysburg: The Waterloo of the Rebellion – Allen C. Guelzo, Ph.D.
    Press Release
  • 2012The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery – Eric Foner, Ph.D.
    Press Release
  • 2011Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief – James McPherson, Ph.D.
  • 2010The Many Lives of Mary Todd Lincoln – Jean H. Baker, Ph.D.
  • 2008'The Judgements of the Lord Are True and Righteous Altogether.' Abraham Lincoln, God and the American Civil War – Richard J. Carwardine, Ph.D.
  • 2006Rich Man's War, a Poor Man's Fight?  Soldiers in General Robert E. Lee's Army – Joseph T. Glatthaar
  • 2005Ulysses S. Grant's Legacy: Yesterday and Today – John Y. Simon, Ph.D.
  • 2004The Problem of Slavery and the Civil War in American Memory – David W. Blight, Ph.D.
  • 2003A Contested Historical Landscape: Understanding and Interpreting the Civil War – Gary W. Gallagher, Ph.D.
  • 2002The Global Impact of the American Civil War – James M. McPherson, Ph.D.

Historical Interview with Dr. Smith

(shown at the October 26, 2023 Smith Lecture)

Robert Kragalott Lecture on Genocide, Mass Atrocity, and Human Rights

Ohio Wesleyan's annual Kragalott Lecture honors the career, contributions, and memory of Robert Kragalott, Ph.D., a professor in the OWU Department of History from 1964 to 1991. The lecture series was endowed with a gift from 1969 OWU graduate Carroll P. "Pete" Kakel III, Ph.D.

The most recent lecture took place on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 7 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of the Hamilton Williams Campus Center:

How and Why Did Genocide Become the "Crime of Crimes"?

A. Dirk Moses is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the City College of New York CUNY. He is the author and editor of publications on genocide and memory, including The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression (2021). He is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research.

Joseph & Edith Vogel Lecture

The Joseph & Edith Vogel Lecture was established in 1985 through a generous gift from Professor Ezra F. Vogel '50, a distinguished alumnus of Ohio Wesleyan University and a native of Delaware, Ohio. The lecture is named in honor of his parents and the lecture is "to promote among Ohio Wesleyan faculty, staff, and students, better understanding of Delaware and the surrounding area."

Department Contact Info


Elliott Hall 110
Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky Street
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3630
F 740-368-3653

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Department Contact

Acting Chair: Mark Gingerich
James S. Britton Professor of History
(740) 368-3636

Academic Assistant: Deborah Lovell
Elliott Hall 110