Championing the Hudson River Valley

Dr. Frank T. Bumpus and Dr. James M. Johnson

Dr. Frank T. Bumpus (left) has endowed an academic chair at Marist to advance understanding of the Hudson River Valley’s rich history, culture, and identity. Joining him is Dr. James M. Johnson, the first holder of the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Chair in Hudson River Valley History. Photo by Michael Nelson.


Dr. Frank T. Bumpus, a longstanding member of the Hudson River Valley Institute’s advisory board, has made a significant gift to Marist to elevate the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Professorship in Hudson River Valley History to the status of an endowed chair. Dr. James M. Johnson, an internationally recognized expert on the American Revolution in the Hudson River Valley and member of the Marist faculty since 2000, has been appointed the first holder of the Bumpus Chair.

“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,” says 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 great thanks for his exceptional generosity and the impact it has on advancing academic excellence at Marist and promoting HRVI as a nationally recognized regional studies center. 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 history and culture. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, the Bumpus Chair delivers public lectures under HRVI’s auspices anddirects and produces scholarship on topics about the Hudson River Valley for dissemination through HRVI’s digital library, its journal 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,” says 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.”

Johnson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and holds MA and PhD degrees in history from Duke and a MA in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. A retired colonel in the U.S. 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 and as head of its military history program. An 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 taught courses on the region and military history at Marist for the past 13 years.

In 2002 Johnson co-founded the Hudson River Valley Institute and has served as its executive director ever since. He is the longstanding Military Historian of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. 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 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.