October 20, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Donald Stoker Talks About World War I and Why It Matters at VSU Oct. 22

Photo by Maria Sigala

VALDOSTA — Dr. Donald J. Stoker Jr. will present “Why World War I Matters” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Jennett Hall Room 1111, located in the Valdosta State University James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services. The presentation is free of charge and open to the public.

A professor of strategy and policy at the United States Naval War College, Monterey Program, Naval Postgraduate School in California Stoker is the celebrated author of numerous scholarly articles, as well as seven published books, including Clausewitz: His Life and Work and The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, which won the Fletcher Pratt Award for the best nonfiction Civil War book of 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1989 and a Master of Arts in 1990, both in history, from VSU. He is the recipient of the Department of History’s 2014 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

“Donald Stoker is a nationally known scholar who teaches how wars are fought at the highest level,” said Dr. John Dunn, VSU history professor. “His presentation will not be about groups of soldiers fighting in trenches or U-boats launching torpedoes; rather, it will focus on the larger picture of politics and strategy, then segue to how these decisions both insured the war's conclusion in 1918, and in doing so, created the world we live in today.

“I would argue that Stoker is uniquely qualified to speak on war at this level since he has over a decade [of experience] teaching naval officers, diplomats, and higher level government workers at the Naval War College. He's engaging and erudite. Don't take my word for this; just note that the Oxford University Press asked him to write that biography of [Carl] von Clausewitz that came out this summer. Von Clausewitz is not an easy biography, and Oxford is a demanding press. [If] they think Stoker can do a good job on this important but complicated 19th century military theorist, I’d say that is a pretty good endorsement of Stoker's credentials as a very serious military historian, one who very much understands the ‘big picture.’”

Dunn met Stoker when they were both graduate students at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. He shared how he vividly remembers Stoker saying that getting a doctorate would be challenging, but very likely, because he had been trained so well at VSU. Stoker completed his Doctor of Philosophy in military and diplomatic history in 1997. 

Contact Dr. John Dunn at (229) 333-5947 or jdunn@valdosta.edu to learn more.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

Hosting presentations by renowned experts like Dr. Donald J. Stoker Jr. meets the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.