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The Accidental American

Patrick Allitt, the first Cahoon family professor of American history, is 'one of the great teachers you need to have'

By Terri McIntosh | Development Communications | May 27, 2013

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Patrick Allitt, the first Cahoon family professor of American history. Emory Photo/Video.

Historian Patrick Allitt, an Englishman who loves America so much he has made it his life's work, is finally a U.S. citizen. Last May he stood with a hundred others in Atlanta's Immigration and Citizenship Center, took the "Oath of Allegiance," and received a little American flag, which he has affixed to the Macintosh computer in his Emory faculty office.

"The whole thing was great," he says, "and I left it much more emotionally worked up than I thought I would. Because I'd already been living here for so long, it wasn't a big change in my way of life. But it was a change in my feeling about the place."

The Cahoon Family Professor of American History, Allitt calls himself "an accidental immigrant" who came to the U.S. to study in 1978 and fully intended to return to England. Instead he found the perfect home at Emory College of Arts and Sciences and is among the university's most highly regarded teachers, scholars and public speakers.

"Everyone on campus loves him," says his research assistant, Emily Moore, a freshman from Seattle. "He's one of the great teachers you need to have before you leave Emory."

Full story in Emory Magazine »