News Bureau | University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo


2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008
Email to a friend envelope icon for send to a friend

Historian Orville Vernon Burton named Carnegie Scholar

Matt Hanley, News Bureau 
(217) 244-0470;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Orville Vernon Burton, a history and sociology professor at the University of Illinois, has been selected as a Carnegie Scholar in the Pew National Fellowship Program.

Burton was selected not only for his classroom practices, but also for “the character and depth of student learning that results from that practice.”

This is the third award Burton has received from the Carnegie Foundation.  Last year he was named one of four 1999 U.S. professors of the year by the foundation.  For his latest recognition Burton will receive a $6,000 stipend to cover the cost of on-site summer residence with the Carnegie Foundation and interim needs.

Burton was one of 40 faculty members chosen from colleges across the country to be a Carnegie Scholar.  Over the next five years, the program hopes to bring together more than 120 faculty members who are committed to investigating and documenting significant issues and challenges in the teaching field.

For the Carnegie Foundation, Burton will be researching the effects of information technology on learning and how students change their attitudes toward race after taking his course titled “Southern History and Civil Rights.”  He also is working on a book on civil rights.

According to Jim Barrett, the chair of the UI history department, Burton stands outs among the many award-winning professors in the department.

“Vernon’s an outstanding teacher and everyone recognizes that, but Vernon has a number of special strengths,” Barrett said.  “His reputation is not only as a very gifted teacher but as a very dedicated person and a very idealistic person.”

According to Barrett, the time and energy Burton puts into mentoring undergraduate and graduate students helps him develop a very close working relationship with them.  It is not uncommon for Burton to invite students to his house for dinner and an informal seminar.

Burton, who is also an affiliate of the Afro-American Studies and Research Program and a senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, has received other honors for his dedication to teaching and research.  He was named a University Scholar in 1988, and in 1999 he was chosen as one of the first three Distinguished Teacher/Scholars on campus.

He is also the author of more than 100 articles and the author or editor of six books, including “In My Father's House Are Many Mansions:  Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina,” which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Burton grew up in Ninety Six, S.C., and did his undergraduate work at Furman University.  He received his Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University in 1976, and has been a member of the UI faculty for 26 years.