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Dr. Curt Fields, living historian and re-enactor, brings Ulysses S. Grant to campus and area schools April 24-28

By Ellen Gwin Burnette

BOONE, N.C.—As part of a continued exploration of Civil War themes this semester, the Department of History at Appalachian State University will host Dr. Curt Fields for “An Evening with General Ulysses S. Grant: The Man Behind the Uniform,” Monday, April 24. Fields is the National Park Service representative for Grant. He has portrayed the commanding general of the Union Army in films, posters and re-enactments.

Fields will be visiting campus Monday, April 24, through Friday, April 28. Monday evening’s performance is a free public lecture in I.G. Greer Auditorium at 7 p.m. During his visit, Fields will be speaking to students on campus and also to public school students in Watauga and Ashe counties.

Fields was selected to portray Grant at the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in 2015. He was featured as Grant, and as a Grant authority, in the Discovery Channel three-part documentary series “How Booze Built America.” Fields is the same height and body style as the general and represents a true-to-life image of the man as he would have looked. He does extensive research in order to share an accurate portrayal. His presentations are made in the first person, quoting from memoirs, articles and letters the general wrote, statements he made in interviews and first-person accounts of people who knew the general or were with him and witnessed him during events.

“It’s eerie. Dr. Curt Fields becomes Gen. Ulysses S. Grant . . . and history comes alive,” said James Goff, professor and chair of the Department of History.

Fields has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. He earned a second master’s in secondary education and a Ph.D. in educational administration and curriculum from Michigan State University. He spent eight years at the junior and senior high school levels teaching before serving 25 years as a high school administrator. He teaches as an adjunct sociology professor at the University of Memphis and in education for Belhaven University, Memphis. He is now an educational consultant and a living historian.

Fields is a frequent contributor to the monthly newsletter “The Civil War Courier,” and is a member of the Tennessee Historical Society, the West Tennessee Historical Society, the Shelby County Historical Society, the Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society, the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, the Appomattox 1865 Foundation, the 290 Foundation – dedicated to the Civil War Navies, the Civil War Trust and the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Department of Communication and Department of Military Science, as well as the Reich College of Education and College Arts and Sciences. For questions about Fields’ visit, contact Dr. Rwany Sibaja at 828-262-8476 or sibajaro@appstate.edu. To learn more about the speaker and to see him in action, visit his website, http://generalgrantbyhimself.com.

About the Department of History

The Department of History at Appalachian State University offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate level, which encourages history majors to develop a comparative approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at https://history.appstate.edu

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, three stand-alone programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities, social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university’s strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges.

About the Reich College of Education

Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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