Jonathan A. Noyalas ’01 has joined Shenandoah University as director of the university’s McCormick Civil War Institute (CWI). The institute, founded in 1994, supports teaching and research about the Civil War.
A graduate of Shenandoah with Bachelor of Science in history, Noyalas completed his graduate work in history at Virginia Tech, studying with two of nation’s premier Civil War historians – James I. Robertson, Jr. and William C. Davis – and earning a Master of Arts in history. After teaching for 14 years at Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) in Middletown, Virginia, Noyalas now returns to his undergraduate alma mater as director of the CWI.
“When I came to Shenandoah University 20 years ago as an undergraduate to study with Dr. Brandon Beck, I dreamed of one day returning to Shenandoah as director of the McCormick Civil War Institute,” said Noyalas. “Now that dream has become a reality. Words cannot express how delighted I am to come ‘home’ and assume a role once filled by my undergraduate mentor. It is somewhat surreal to have this opportunity, and I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to have a chance to teach and share my passion with Shenandoah’s students and engage the broader community about the most formative moment in our republic’s history.”
As director, Noyalas oversees all aspects of the institute, and he is tasked with developing and implementing a strategic vision, event and educational programming, budgetary oversight, and fundraising. Noyalas will also conduct research and scholarly work in the field of the Civil War, teach courses in Civil War-era studies at Shenandoah and mentor individual student research and work. He will also collaborate with Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Jeff Coker, Ph.D., to develop academic programs in the liberal arts that engage both the campus and broader communities.
“We are thrilled Jonathan Noyalas has joined the Shenandoah University community,” said Dr. Coker. “A rapidly rising scholar and accomplished teacher, he will bring a renewed focus on a vital part of the historical fabric of the region.”
Noyalas worked with the CWI during his tenure at LFCC and, over the years, has built a strong base of support for for the institute. Now as director of the CWI, Noyalas will organize conferences, tours and special events, and he will develop programs at the university’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield related to Civil War-era history.
Plans for the river campus include interpretive efforts, a volunteer program, and an annual commemoration of the Battle of Cool Spring, which occurred on July 18, 1864. Noyalas also hopes to develop an annual journal devoted to the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War era.
“Shenandoah has always had a special place in my heart—it is not only the place where I earned a first-rate education, but the place where I met the woman I am fortunate to call my wife,” said Noyalas. “I am eager to get to work, begin collaborating with local historical organizations, and establish the University’s Civil War Institute as the ‘go-to’ institution for the scholarly study of the Civil War era in the Shenandoah Valley.”
Noyalas is the author or editor of eleven books on Civil War-era history, including his most recent book, “Civil War Legacy in the Shenandoah: Remembrance, Reunion and Reconciliation.” He is the author of more than 100 articles, essays, book chapters, and reviews which have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular publications, including Civil War History, America’s Civil War, Civil War Times, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, and Civil War News.
Noyalas has worked on a variety of public history projects and served as Civil War historian for the National Park Service’s historic resource study at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, content expert for the Civil War Trust’s Cedar Creek Battle App, and consultant for National Geographic’s three-part documentary series “Civil Warriors.” He has also been active in battlefield preservation in the Shenandoah Valley, having contributed his time and talents to the Kernstown Battlefield Association and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
He is the recipient of numerous awards for his scholarship, teaching, and service, including Shenandoah University’s Young Career Alumni Achievement Award (October 2004) and most recently, the highest honor bestowed upon a professor at a private or public university or college in Virginia, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award (February 2016).
The McCormick Civil War Institute was made possible by a gift from Hugh and Virginia McCormick. Mr. McCormick, a direct descendent of a Civil War veteran, held a lifelong interest in promoting preservation and education in this field.
Find the McCormick Civil War Institute on Facebook.