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Jonathan Earle Named LSU Honors Dean

LSU has named Jonathan Earle as the new dean of the Honors College. Earle is the director of the University Honors Program at the University of Kansas and has also served as associate director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. He will begin as dean on August 15, pending approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

“We are pleased to bring Jonathan Earle to LSU to join our leadership team as Honors College dean,” said LSU President & Chancellor F. King Alexander. “The Honors College plays an important role on our campus, and we look forward to the leadership that Dean Earle brings to LSU and the Honors College.”

LSU conducted a national search for a dean, and Damon Andrew, dean of the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education, served as chair of the search committee.

“It is a pleasure to announce Jonathan Earle as the dean of the LSU Honors College,” said LSU Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Stuart Bell. “Dr. Earle has had an impressive career in studying and teaching on American political history, and we are excited to see his vision for the Honors College. We would also like to thank Damon Andrew, the search committee and others who helped in the dean search process.”

Earle grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., and received his bachelor’s degree at Columbia University in 1990 and his master’s degree in 1992 and Ph.D. in 1996, both from Princeton University.

“The Honors College at LSU is already one of the crown jewels of the university and one of the very best of its kind in the country,” Earle said. “And with the excellent work by Dean Nancy Clark, the staff and the fabulous students it’s poised to be even better. I am truly excited to be part of the next chapter at the Honors College.”

Earle is the author of numerous books and articles including “Jacksonian Antislavery and the Politics of Free Soil,” winner of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic’s 2005 Broussard prize and co-winner of the Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize; “John Brown’s Raid: A Brief History with Documents”; “The Routledge Atlas of African American History,” and co-author of “Major Problems in the Early American Republic.” Last summer the University Press of Kansas published his edited collection “Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border.”

Earle is currently working on a book on the election of 1860 for the “Pivotal Moments in U.S. History” series published by Oxford University Press.                         

In addition to his leadership of the Honors Program at Kansas, Earle served as associate director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics from its founding in 2003 until 2010, and interim director from 2007-08. The Dole Institute contains the nation’s second largest collection of Congressional papers and memorabilia, and offers more than 50 programs annually on politics, public service and leadership.   

In support of his research, Earle has received major fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He spent the 2006-07 academic year as the Ray Allen Billington Chair in U.S. History at Occidental College and the Huntington Library and the 1999-2000 academic year as an NEH Fellow at the Huntington Library.

Earle has appeared on numerous programs and documentaries on the History Channel, C-SPAN and PBS. The History News Network named him a Top Young Historian in 2007. Earle’s teaching interests are broad in their scope and approach, and include courses on the nation’s sectional on the early republic, the coming of the Civil War, American culture and a popular undergraduate class on the history of conspiracies and paranoia in the United States. In 2003, he won the Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence.

For more information about the LSU Honors College, visit

Article by Ernie Ballard, LSU Media Relations (225-578-5685,