FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has announced historian Alan Shaw Taylor as its 2016 Commencement speaker.

Taylor will also receive an honorary degree at the ceremony set on Saturday, May 14.

A historian, scholar, educator, author and Maine native, Taylor is only the fourth person to win two Pulitzer Prizes for American history since the establishment of the award in 1917. Taylor is a notable expert on Colonial America, the Revolution and the Early American Republic.

Born in Portland, Taylor is a graduate of Bonny Eagle High School and Colby College and returns to Maine often. His first book, published in 1990, “Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820,” focused on Maine’s early settlement before statehood.

Six years later, he received his first Pulitzer Prize in American History for “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic.” It was also awarded the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes.

In 2014, he received his second Pulitzer Prize for “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832,” a book about runaway slaves who helped the British military. It also won the Merle Curti Prize for Social History and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Taylor has taught in the history departments at Boston University and the University of California Davis, where he was the faculty adviser for the California State Social Science and History Project that provides curriculum support and professional development for teachers in history and social studies. Currently, he teaches in the Corcoran History Department of the University of Virginia where he holds the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair.

In addition to his two Pulitzer Prize-winning publications, Taylor’s other writings have won the 2001 Gold Medal for Nonfiction from the Commonwealth Club of California, the 2007 Society for Historians of the Early Republic book prize and the 2004-07 Society of the Cincinnati triennial book prize. “The Civil War of 1812” won the Empire State History Prize and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize.

Graduating senior Emily Rumble of York will give the student address. Rumble is a George Mitchell Scholar and honors student graduating cum laude with a major in secondary education. During her time at UMF, she has been active in the UMF George Mitchell Scholars Club and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society. She worked as the student campus photographer for four years and participated in multiple campus community service projects, including Relay for Life and traveling to New Orleans to help with Hurricane Katrina relief. After graduation her goal is to work as a high school English teacher.


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