Publication Date

April 1, 2009

Perspectives Section


The Senate of College Councils—the student governance organization at the University of Texas that represents all 50,000 students in academic affairs—selected Wm. Roger Louis as the university-wide Professor of the Year. Louis, the director and a cofounder of the National History Center, and a former AHA president, holds the Mildred Caldwell and Baine Perkins Kerr Centennial Chair in English History and Culture at the university, and is a distinguished teaching professor in the university’s College of Liberal Arts. The award recognizes faculty members at the university who have demonstrated outstanding teaching ability and a dedication to students that extends above and beyond the call of duty.

Pranav Merchant from the Liberal Arts Council, who nominated Louis, said: “[Professor Louis] gets students engaged in the course material by using his wealth of knowledge to find topics that are important and that students will find interesting.” “Ultimately,” Merchant wrote, “Professor Louis cares about students and cares about his field of study, and he excels in teaching and has contributed immensely to British Studies. Because of all of this, he creates a unique academic and social experience that enriches everyone who comes into contact with him.”

In conferring this honor, the students of the University of Texas recognized that Wm. Roger Louis is, despite the numerous tasks he takes on and executes successfully—editing multivolume studies of the British Empire, guiding and mentoring PhD students, running a weekly British studies seminar and publishing its proceedings, delivering lectures all over the world, being a fellow at Oxford University’s St. Antony’s College, directing the National History Center, conducting a seminar on decolonization, serving as a member and chair of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation at the U.S. Department of State, and so on—he is also, above all, a dedicated teacher. But he himself did not believe it when he was informed about the award, he said in a characteristically self-deprecating manner; and even now, days after he was actually presented with the award, Louis finds it quite hard to believe, he insists, in a message to Perspectives on History.

To those who know Louis, it comes as no surprise to learn that he declares that much of the credit goes to Dagmar Louis, his wife. Indeed, this was what “Friends of British Studies” stressed also in a special advertisement that they published in theAustin American Statesman, acknowledging her role in Louis’s success, calling her “a ray of sunshine in the lives of her friends, and a real and friendly help to generations of U.T. Students.”

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