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Robert Barry Levis came to Rollins College in 1968 as a professor of history.  For nearly forty years, Levis has served the college as an active member of the faculty while continuing to mentor students and pursue academic research and publication.

Levis was born on August 18, 1942, in Abington, Pennsylvania.  He studied at Pennsylvania State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in General Science in 1964.  He also received his M.A. in history in 1966 and his Ph.D. in history in 1971 from Pennsylvania State University.

Having joined the Rollins College faculty in 1968, Levis has not only taught courses in history, but also found time to publish articles and serve in leadership positions at Rollins College.  He specializes in British History and Early Modern European History, and over the years he has taught courses in topics such as Europe and the Age of Reason and Passion, “Family Values?”, and Religion and Western Culture.  Levis served as the President of the Faculty from 1976 to 1978 and from 2001 to 2003, the head of the Department of History, Faculty Chairman of Freshmen Studies, Chairman of the Social Science Interdisciplinary Course, and Chairman of the Curriculum Committee.  In 1987, Levis co-founded the Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) Program at Rollins.  Since 1994, Levis has been the editor of the Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies.

Throughout his Rollins career, Levis has been recognized as the Arthur Vining Davis Fellow in 1986, the National Faculty Award of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies (AGLSP) in 1999, and a member of the Historical Honorary Society Phi Alpha Theta.  He is also a member of the American Historical Association and the Sigma Phi Epsilon Social Fraternity.


Would you mind sharing with us some of your teaching approaches?
  • "...And I, when I took the job here, I made these elaborate sets of lecture notes... I don’t lecture much [now]... Because I found out that is not the way to get students engaged... it doesn’t engage them..."


  • "...The mail was in the, what is now the Rice Bookstore.  I was across from all this, and the... the student center.  Which is actually very nice because it was close to where I was and we would go over there... how wonderful it was in the old days when the post office was right there with the food services in the student center, and we’d get our mail and sit around and talk and stuff like that..."





  • "...I think the Tower Treasure was very important to me... It’s one of the Hardy Boys mysteries; it was the first one I read.  And it really got me reading... I think just the fact of reading had a tremendous impact on the way I am.  ... there’s been other things along the way that have had an impact, but I think books are just really important to me..."



  • "... The problem was the psychology department was upstairs and they had rats.  And one time, I was teaching a class... And we looked up and there was stuff dripping down.  They had washed out the rat cages by just hosing them... it was disgusting..."


  • "... And we had a teach-in and I talked and I talked about two of my fraternity brothers, who were killed there.  And how, what an impact it had had on me... I was involved in talking to students about conscientious objector status and stuff like that, to try to help them deal with the draft..."

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So what was your first impression of the college, the campus, the students?

Levis Talks About His Love of Reading

Levis Talks About Some Memorable Classroom Experiences

You were here during the tumultuous sixties and seventies... did you ever encounter any particular uprisings?