FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has announced two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and historian Alan Shaw Taylor will deliver this year’s commencement address.

The ceremony takes place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, behind the Olsen Student Center.

Taylor is only the fourth person to twin two Pulitzer Prizes for American history since the award was established in 1917.

Taylor received his first Pulitzer Prize in American History for “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic.” In 2014, he received a second Pulitzer Prize for “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832,” a book about runaway slaves who helped the British military.

According to the Pulitzer committee’s citation, Taylor’s book is “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators.” 

He is a notable expert on Colonial America, the Revolution and the Early American Republic.

“Alan Taylor has the well-deserved reputation of being an historian’s historian,” said UMF President Kathryn A. Foster. “He is notable for his extensive knowledge, scholarly research and unique talent to make history come alive again. It is an honor to have him addressing our graduates on this important day.”

Born in Portland, Taylor is a graduate of Bonny Eagle High School and Colby College who returns often to Maine. He has published seven books, with the eighth set for publication this fall.

Taylor has taught in the history departments at Boston University and the University of California, Davis. Currently, he teaches in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia.

Graduating senior Emily Rumble of York will give the student address. A standout student, 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 honor 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. 


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