Clayton J. Drees, President
Dr. Clay Drees earned his doctorate from the Claremont Graduate School in California in 1991 after having taught high school for seven years, including a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He is Professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan University, where he teaches courses in medieval and early modern European, African and Islamic history. A two-time recipient of the Samuel Nelson Gray distinguished teaching award in 1998 and 2015, Drees has also served VWU as director of the general studies program (1999-2005) and as chair of the social science division (2005-11). His published books inlcude Authority and Dissent in the English Church (Edwin Mellen, 1997), The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal (Greenwood, 2001) and Bishop Richard Fox of Winchester: Architect of the Tudor Age (McFarland, 2014). He has lived in Virginia Beach for 26 years with his wife Val.
Jacob M. Blosser, Vice President
Dr. Jacob M. Blosser joined the Department of History and Government in fall 2006. He earned his bachelor of arts in history and English from Milligan College in 1999, his master’s in history from James Madison University in 2001 and his doctorate in history from the University of South Carolina in 2006.
He teaches American history survey courses as well as upper-level and graduate courses in colonial and revolutionary America, the Atlantic World and early modern Europe. He is particularly interested in religious history, popular culture and the history of the book.
His teachings and research have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Historical Association, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the American Antiquarian Society, the Virginia Historical Society and the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church.
Jochen Burgtorf, Advisory Board Chair
Dr. Jochen Burgtorf is Professor of Medieval History at California State University, Fullerton. His research interests encompass the crusades and the military orders; the medieval papacy; and the history of refugees. His publications include The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307-1314); The Central Convent of Hospitallers and Templars: History, Organization, and Personnel, 1099/1120-1310; various articles in Ordines Militares: Yearbook for the Study of the Military Orders; as well as an essay on Piers Gaveston and King Edward II of England in Fourteenth Century England. Professor Burgtorf is a collaborator of the “Pius-Stiftung/Regesta Pontificum Romanorum” (an international research project on papal documents); a recipient of the Nicky B. Carpenter Fellowship in Manuscript Studies at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library; a special-features presenter for the History Channel’s series “Vikings;”a former chair of CSU Fullerton’s Department of History; and a past president of Phi Alpha Theta.