B.A., Grinnell College; M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Patrick W. O’Neil is Chair and Associate Professor of History; he is also Co-Director of Women’s Studies.

His research focuses on America in the years before the Civil War, encompassing politics, culture, and gender, and he is hard at work on a book about weddings during that time. The book is called Inventing the American Wedding, and it compares the way that various Americans married when the white wedding was still a new thing.

As a teacher, Professor O’Neil believes that people learn best when they have the chance to figure things out for themselves. His courses ask students to lead class discussions and to research difficult ideas; the assumption is that if you come ready to play, you can match wits with the best thinkers in America. He won Methodist University’s Distinguished Professor of the Year award in 2014.

When Professor O’Neil is stressed out, he goes for a run. Otherwise, he spends an unhealthy amount of time thinking about North Carolina Tar Heels basketball, Nebraska Cornhuskers football, the Beatles, and barbecue

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