Announcing the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Chair in Hudson River Valley History

Dr. James M. Johnson appointed first holder of chair established to promote greater understanding of region's history, culture, and identity

POUGHKEEPSIE (Sept. 25, 2013) – Dr. Frank T. Bumpus, a long-time resident of Cold Spring, N.Y., has made a significant gift to Marist College to establish an endowed chair for promoting greater understanding of the rich history, culture, and identity of New York’s Hudson River Valley. Dr. James M. Johnson, an internationally recognized expert on the War for Independence in the Hudson River Valley, has been appointed the first holder of the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Chair in Hudson River Valley HistoryFrank T. Bumpus and James M. Johnson

Dr. Bumpus is a long-serving member of the advisory board of the Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist, a nationally recognized regional studies center that is also the academic arm of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. HRVI is a Marist academic center of excellence serving the greater community and is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"We are very grateful that Frank Bumpus – true to his family’s laudable tradition of supporting education – has made Marist a focus of his commitment to preserve and promote the rich history of the Hudson River Valley," said President Dennis J. Murray. "This academic chair, and the excellent teaching, scholarship, and public dialogue it creates, will widen knowledge and understanding throughout the country and the world about our historically significant region of America.

"Frank has our deep thanks for his exceptional generosity and the impact it has on advancing academic excellence at Marist and promoting the Hudson River Valley Institute’s important work. We are honored to have our educational mission forever linked with one of the great champions of the Hudson River Valley."

To be held by a noted historian, this permanently funded academic post in the School of Liberal Arts advances study and scholarship related to the Hudson River Valley's rich history and culture. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, the Bumpus Chair delivers public lectures under HRVI’s auspices and directs and produces scholarship on topics about the Hudson River Valley for dissemination through HRVI's digital library, The Hudson River Valley Review, and published articles and monographs. 

"We are incredibly proud to have the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Chair in Hudson River Valley History at Marist," said Dr. Thomas Wermuth, academic vice president and dean of faculty. “We thank Dr. Bumpus for his leadership in making this eminent position possible. Dr. Jim Johnson is a first-rate historian and incomparable advocate for the Hudson River Valley and his appointment sets the standard for future holders of the Bumpus Chair." 

Dr. Johnson graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University and a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. A retired Colonel in the United States Army, his 30 years of service include active duty in Germany and Korea and at the Pentagon, as well as 15 years on the West Point faculty, serving as head of the military history program in his second tour. Author and editor of books and numerous scholarly and popular essays and articles on the War for Independence in the Hudson River Valley, he has been a member of the Marist faculty for the past thirteen years, teaching courses on the region and military history. 

In 2002, Dr. Johnson co-founded HRVI and has served as its executive director ever since. As the longstanding Military Historian of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, he oversees the American Revolutionary interpretive theme. His leadership in preserving and promoting American history in the Valley extends to the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor at New Windsor Cantonment, and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, among many other projects. His numerous honors include the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques from the government of France; the U.S. Army’s Legion of Merit, twice; the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Medal of Honor and Bronze Good Citizenship Medal; and the Sons of the American Revolution’s Silver Good Citizenship Medal.

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