Lynn Rainville named associate dean of academic affairs at Sweet Briar

Lynn Rainville
Lynn Rainville. Photo by Meridith De Avila Khan

Research professor Lynn Rainville has been named associate dean of academic affairs at Sweet Briar College. She will continue in her role as director of the Tusculum Institute.

In her new role, Rainville will be the College’s point person for its library, sponsored research, the Honors Program, institutional effectiveness and study-abroad opportunities. “I’m grateful to Lynn for her willingness to take on this role and ensure that these important aspects of our educational community continue to get the attention they deserve,” said Dean of the College Rob Granger. “In addition, she understands the importance of the humanities and social sciences at Sweet Briar and I look forward to her good counsel.”

A nationally recognized authority on African-American history and overlooked communities, Rainville joined the Sweet Briar College community in 2001, teaching anthropology and archaeology courses. Since then, she has received a number of awards and grants, including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2005 that enabled her to investigate historic African-American cemeteries in Virginia.

“Sweet Briar has been fertile ground for studying our shared and complicated past,” Rainville said.

In 2008, she was asked to lead the new Tusculum Institute for historic preservation and public history. In that role, she has worked on ethno-historic research and, together with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, worked to promote environmentally sustainable historic preservation initiatives throughout the Commonwealth. She will continue to work on these projects as part of her new duties.

Rainville attended Dartmouth College, where she double-majored in history and anthropology, was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Near Eastern archaeology and spent more than a decade directing projects in Turkey and Syria. For the last 17 years, she has been uncovering Virginia’s forgotten histories, including research into enslaved communities, poor farms and the state’s role in World War I. Her work has appeared in four books and more than two dozen articles. She has shared her research with Sweet Briar students, as well as large public audiences, through regular public lectures, online databases and social media.

Rainville has held leadership positions in several community and professional organizations, including the National Database of Enslaved Americans, Preservation Piedmont, the Virginian WWI/WWII Centennial Commission and the Virginia History Forum. She has also served as a guest curator at several museums and historical societies, as a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America.

Read more about Rainville’s recent research:

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