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Sarah Castagna
Al Nowak/On Location
A Professorship in Hudson
River Valley History
D
r. James M. Johnson has been appointed the first Dr. Frank T. Bumpus
Professor of Hudson River Valley History, a position in the School of
Liberal Arts created to advance study and scholarship related to the Hudson
River Valley’s rich history and culture. The professorship honors a longtime
resident of the region whose passion for American history and philanthropic
leadership of the Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) have enabled Marist
to develop one of the country’s premier regional studies centers.
A nationally and internationally recognized expert on the War for
Independence in the Hudson River Valley, Johnson is a United States Military
Academy graduate with MA and PhD degrees in history from Duke and a
master’s from the Naval War College. A retired colonel with 30 years of service
in the United States Army, including active duty in Germany and Korea and
at the Pentagon, he taught on the West Point faculty for 15 years and led its
military history program.
Johnson has taught at Marist since 2000 and co-founded HRVI in 2002,
acting as executive director ever since. He is the long-serving Military
Historian of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, with responsibilities to develop the
American Revolutionary interpretive theme. Johnson has earned numerous honors, including one
from the government of France, for leadership roles in projects and organizations related to the
preservation and promotion of American history in the Hudson River Valley.
The Bumpus Professor teaches undergraduate courses, delivers public lectures under HRVI’s
auspices, and directs and produces scholarship on topics about the Hudson River Valley for dis-
semination through HRVI’s Digital Library, its scholarly journal The Hudson River Valley Review,
and published articles and monographs. The professor also serves as the liaison to the Hudson River
Valley National Heritage Area for which HRVI is the academic arm. HRVI is also supported by a
National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant to promote excellence in the humanities
and convey the lessons of history through public programs.
Johnson prepares future
elementary school teachers to
lead history classes.
Dr. James M. Johnson (far left), Dr. Frank T.
Bumpus Professor of Hudson River Valley History,
leads his Hudson River Valley class on a field trip
to the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site.
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