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UCD School of History & Archives

Scoil na Staire agus na Cartlannaíochta UCD

The Mary Ball Washington Professorship of American History

The professorship was founded through the efforts of John D.J. Moore, Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland, 1969-1975, and established on August 7 1975 by Statute LXXXVI of the University, with the support of a gift from the Alfred I. Du Pont Foundation.

Since its foundation, the Professorship has been held by some extremely distinguished historians, and it has been regarded as a crucial benefit for those teaching history at UCD, as providing a point of contact with the historical profession in the United States and as helping to interest generations of Irish students in the history of the United States of America. For a number of years the historian appointed was someone who specialised in the history of the American Presidency, or the history of American foreign policy, but now the Chair is being advertised much more widely, as any historian of the USA in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. The School of History and Archives are very grateful to the Fulbright Commission, who have done much to facilitate and support the holders of the chair. 

 The Current Mary Ball Washington Professor

Robert Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and a Fulbright Scholar at University College Dublin for the 2013-14 academic year.  He earned his PhD at the University of Virginia and has been at Washington and Lee since 1989.  Earlier in his career he taught at Tulane University and the University College of Wales.  In 1988-89 he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and worked in the offices of Congressman Lee Hamilton and Senator Richard Lugar.  His research involves national security issues and presidential foreign policy decisions in the modern era.  In 2005 he was a visiting scholar at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University. His recent publications include Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of American Foreign Policy and a second edition of Decisions and Dilemmas: Case Studies in Presidential Foreign Policy Making Since 1945.   From 2008 to 2013 he served in senior administrative positions at Washington and Lee, first as Associate Provost and then as Interim Provost.   He has published essays in a variety of journals and national newspapers and his speeches and op-eds as a university administrator are posted on a Huffington Post blog.‌‌ 


Holders of the Chair


  • 1976-77  Donald McCoy
  • 1977-78  Lloyd Ambrosius
  • 1978-79  Richard M. Reinitz
  • 1979-80  Peter Karsten
  • 1981-82  Stephen Ambrose
  • 1982-83  George McGovern
  • 1984-85  Francis Carroll
  • 1985-86  Kim McQuaid
  • 1986-87  Glenda Riley
  • 1987-88  Lawrence Gelfand
  • 1988-89  Merrill D. Peterson
  • 1989-90  Peter S. Onuf
  • 1990-91  Stephen G. Rabe
  • 1991-92  Walter Nugent
  • 1992-93  Joan Hoff
  • 1993-94  Thomas McCormick
  • 1994-95  Ingrid Winther Scobie
  • 1995-96  Theodore Wilson 
  • 1996-97  Elaine Tyler May
  • 1997-98  Kevin Boyle
  • 1998-99  Harvard Sitcoff
  • 1999-00  Robert McMahon
  • 2000-01  Mark Lytle
  • 2001-02  Terry Anderson
  • 2003-04  Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
  • 2004-05  Mark Lytle
  • 2005-06  Mitchell Lerner
  • 2006-07  Kenneth A. Osgood
  • 2007-08  Robert K. Brigham
  • 2008-09  V. Scott Kaufman and Patrick McGilligan
  • 2009-10  Adam Sheingate
  • 2011-12  Doug Egerton
  • 2012-13  Matthew Sutton
  • 2013-14 Robert Strong


Mary Ball was born in Lively, Virginia, in 1708; she died in 1789, less than four months after her son George was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.

Professor Robert Strong