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U. of I. historian to be honored by king of Morocco

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A history professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will receive Morocco’s oldest and most prestigious decoration.

John A. Lynn, who specializes in French and military history, will receive the Moroccan Order, the Ouissam Al Alaoui, the highest order granted by the Moroccan monarchy, at the rank of commander. The Order was established in 1913 and is given for “exceptional civil and military accomplishments.”

The ceremony with King Mohammed VI takes place Nov. 27 at the Royal Palace in Rabat. A French admiral and Portuguese general also will receive the Ouissam.

Lynn is the president of the U.S. Commission on Military History and the vice president of the Society for Military History.

He has worked extensively with the Moroccan Commission on Military History, including joint history projects through the State Partnership Program of the National Guard and the history section of the U.S.-Morocco Defense Coordination Committee.

During World War II, the Ouissam Al Alaoui frequently was awarded to U.S. military personnel involved in “Operation Torch,” the allied invasion of French Morocco.

Famous award recipients include Gens. George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 2005, Lynn was awarded the Palmes Académiques, or the Academic Palms, one of France’s highest honors for academic achievement. The award was given for outstanding contributions to French culture and history.

Lynn joined the U. of I. history department in 1978, and is the author or editor of eight books of history. A native of Glenview, Ill., he earned his bachelor’s degree at Illinois, his master’s at the University of California at Davis and his doctorate at UCLA.