The Armstrong Lecture Series, sponsored by Bradley University's history department, is named for Professor William Martin Armstrong (1919-1991) and brings interesting, provocative, and expert speakers to campus to offer new perspectives on the past and the present.
Born in Peoria, Armstrong entered Bradley in 1937, but his college years were interrupted by World War II. After enlisting in 1941, military service took him to both Europe and the Philippines. Returning to Bradley, he graduated with his B.A. in history and went on to earn his master's degree from Louisiana State University and his Ph.D. in history from Stanford University in 1954. Armstrong taught at a variety of institutions over his career, including: Eastern Illinois University, Washington College, Helsinki University, City University of New York (Brooklyn), and Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., where he was tenured. William Armstrong’s research and writing was focused on late nineteenth-century US history with a particular emphasis on the life and work of E. L. Godkin, founding editor of The Nation and Godkin’s connection to issues of U.S., Irish, and British relations. Armstrong was also an accomplished landscape artist who exhibited work in juried art shows and sold pieces to private collections. He was proud of his membership in the Sierra Club and the ACLU and remained actively engaged throughout his life. William Armstrong’s life work was devoted to the enduring importance of historical understanding and generously endowed the university with funds to support this lecture series in history.