During his eight years as President and Professor of History at the University of Richmond, Ed forged a record of leadership and innovation unusual among scholars and administrators. His work furthered a commitment to excellence and access demonstrated during his years as Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. He continues to seek new opportunities to advance the study of history and the possibilities of higher education across the United States through work with the University of Richmond and the Organization of American Historians.
University of Richmond
Reflecting on Ed's dedication and impact as President, the rector of the University's Board of Trustees noted, “The university is stronger today by every possible measure—in academic excellence, fiscal health, national and international reputation, and accessibility—because of President Ayers’ thoughtful leadership and vision.”
Organization of American Historians
Ed served as President of the Organization of American Historians during the 2017-18 term. The OAH Annual Meeting in 2018 fostered conversation about the forms in which we represent the American past. Ed's leadership included spearheading the OAH Amplified Initiative, an innovation funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to turn a one-time event into a resource that can be used and remixed for many purposes.
University of Virginia
Ed dedicated 27 years of service to the University of Virginia, beginning in 1980 and culminating in the Hugh P. Kelly Professorship in American History and Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2001-07. In 2006, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University's highest honor.
Selected articles and essays on Higher Education
- "Strengths Hidden in Plain Sight," adapted from remarks offered at the closing plenary session of the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Summer 2016
- "The Experience of Liberal Education," adapted from remarks offered at the closing plenary session of the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Summer 2010
"Flagship Universities Must Pursue Excellence and Access," co-authored with Nicole Farmer Hurd, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 22, 2005
Press about Ed's work in Higher Education
- Richmond Magazine, "And Pages Yet to Fill," by Gary Robertson, April 23, 2015
- University of Richmond Magazine, "The Ayers Effect," by Matthew Dewald, February 2, 2015
- Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, "Remarks at the Inauguration of Edward Ayers," April 11, 2008
- The Hook, "Uber Dean: Ayers an Academic of All Trades," by Lisa Provence, December 18, 2003