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Obama Nominates Historian to Prestigious Board

Obama Nominates UCR Historian to Prestigious Board

The president nominates Catherine Allgor, a national expert on Dolley Madison, to the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation board.

(September 8, 2011)

Catherine AllgorEnlarge

Catherine Allgor

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Catherine Allgor, professor of history and Presidential Chair at the University of California, Riverside, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the board of trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.

The White House announced Allgor’s nomination on Sept. 6. Her appointment requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate before she begins serving a six-year term on the foundation.

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, established by Congress in 1986, promotes the teaching of the Constitution by giving fellowships to secondary school educators, enabling them to get master's degrees in American history, American government, and social studies. The fellowships honor the legacy of James Madison, the nation’s fourth president and the primary author of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“The idea is to teach teachers so they can create an informed citizenry,” Allgor explained. "It is such an honor to be appointed by President Obama to this mission. What could be more important than giving a hand to teachers? I hope my presence on the board will encourage California secondary school teachers to enter this national competition."

Thomas Cogswell, chair of the UCR Department of History, said Allgor’s nomination is “easily equal to an appointment to a national academy” and recognizes the excellence of UC Riverside and its humanities faculty.

“It will be a major coup for the nation's high school teachers, and their students, to have a scholar of Catherine Allgor's caliber on the James Madison Foundation,” he said. “The president could not have made a finer choice.”

Allgor, who is nationally known as an expert on Dolley Madison, joined the UC Riverside faculty in 2001. Her research focuses on the role of women in early American history, the effect of gender in electoral politics, the issue of coverture and female disenfranchisement in the founding era, and the historical influence of first ladies. Her first book, “Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government,” won the James H. Broussard First Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. “A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation” was a finalist for the George Washington Prize and the 2007-2008 selection for the UCRF1RST Book.

She earned an A.A. from Bucks County Community College, a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, and an M.A., M. Phil, and Ph.D. from Yale University.

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation is funded privately and through a Treasury trust fund. It is governed by a 13-member board of trustees, of which 12 members are appointed to six-year terms by the president. By law, the composition of the board must include: two U.S. senators, two members of the House of Representatives, two federal judges, one governor, two members of the general public, and three members from the academic community. The secretary of education serves as an ex-officio member. With the exception of the federal judges and the secretary of education, the board must be evenly divided between political parties.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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