A. Roger Ekirch Appointed University Distinguished Professor
May 1, 2019
The author of five prizewinning books, Ekirch previously received numerous awards and honors, including four National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship; he also served as the first Paul Mellon Fellow at Cambridge University. In “Sleep We Have Lost” in the American Historical Review(2001), for which he earned the Clifford Prize from the American Society for 18th Century Studies, and in his book, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (W.W. Norton, 2006), Ekirch presented his influential discovery that the dominant pattern of Western sleep prior to the Industrial Revolution was not the consolidated sleep we aspire to today, but rather was segmented: a “first sleep” and a “second sleep” bridged by an interval of an hour or so of wakefulness. His research has offered insights into today’s sleep disorders and since 2005 has been profiled in 79 international newspapers and magazines and referenced in an additional 300. The most recent of Ekirch’s five books, American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution (Pantheon, 2017) was recognized as a Main Selection of the History Book Club and a Book of the Week designation from Publisher’s Weekly.
Ekirch joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1977; he earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University. The University Distinguished Professorship is Virginia Tech’s preeminent faculty rank bestowed upon members of the university faculty whose scholarly attainments have attracted national and/or international recognition. The rank is carried by incumbents until resignation or retirement from the university, subject to the normal standard of continuous high performance.