Annandale History Professor Charles Poland presented the 2015 Legacy Lecture on April 13 in the Ernst Center Forum at the Annandale Campus. He is one of the longest tenured instructors in the history of NOVA, having joined the faculty in 1967.
The valedictory address at the fifth annual event was hosted by the Annandale Lyceum Committee and sponsored by the Annandale Campus Council. The lecture was warmly received by dozens of admiring faculty, staff, students, friends and Poland family members who came to hear the Loudoun County native.
Annandale Lyceum Committee Chair John Schmitz provided opening remarks and introduced Annandale Campus Council Chair DeQuan Smith who welcomed everyone. Smith in turn introduced History Professor Emeritus Bill Kinsella who introduced Poland.
Kinsella spoke of his 40 year friendship with Poland and listed Poland’s many accomplishments at NOVA including receiving the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the 2008 Faculty of the Year Award from NOVA’s Alumni Federation.
Poland spoke about the journey he took to get where he is today. In 1957, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history from American University, he taught history and Western civilization courses at Loudoun County High School and later at Herndon High School in Fairfax County. After earning a master’s degree from American University, he came to NOVA.
Poland is a renowned scholar and researcher of the Civil War who earned a doctorate from Western Colorado University. Poland has traveled more than 120,000 miles to almost all of the Civil War battlefields. He has written seven books on local and Civil War era history, with another to be published soon. He places a special emphasis on the experiences of citizen soldiers and forgotten heroes. Poland also created a mobile Civil War Museum that toured schools throughout Northern Virginia for many years. He donated displays from that museum to the Annandale Campus Library.
As he concluded his remarks, Poland said he spent two years deciding whether to retire. In retirement, he will continue his research and hopes to publish another book. The special joy he experienced as a teacher was summed up in a few words: “Our reward is to see our students succeed in life.”