History award takes recent grad to New York

Written by Kenneth Noe, Draughon Professor of Southern History

Hannah Riordan

Hannah Riordan a history major in the College of Liberal Arts and Auburn University swimmer, was awarded one of only 15 History Scholar Awards from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History this summer. History Scholar Awards go to top college seniors from around the country and for the second year in a row, one of those coveted awards went to an Auburn University history major. 

Following on the heels of Jeffrey Lollar in 2012, Riordan traveled to New York City in June to receive her award and participate in a series of presentations, including meetings with eminent scholars, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of historic archives, and an awards dinner. Museum and archive visits included stops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Gilder Lehrman Collection, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, with talks and discussions led by Kenneth T. Jackson, Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Adrienne Petty.

Candidates come from universities across the country and the award recognizes outstanding graduating college seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American History or American Studies. Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Awards are competitive -- based on grades, strong letters of recommendation, and writing samples. A native of Cornwall, Ontario, Riordan submitted an essay on how her experiences at Auburn awakened her interest in the American Civil War and especially the role that Canadians played in that conflict.  She will continue pursuing that topic this fall as a graduate history student at McGill University in Montreal.

Riordan will also continue training as a competitive swimmer, toward the goal of joining the Canadian national team.  As a member of the Auburn's champion swimming and diving team, Riordan has earned an impressive array of athletic awards.  A sprinter, she was an eight-time All-American, four-time SEC champion in the 200 meter and 400-meter freestyle relays, and swam for Canada in the 2010 Pan-Pacific Championships.

Founded in 1994, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is today the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of K–12 teacher training and classroom resources; the institute’s programs promote excellence in the teaching and learning of American history.  Their array of programs includes Teacher Seminars, the Affiliate Schools Program, Online Courses, Traveling Exhibitions, and more for schools, teachers, and students.

Hannah Riordan

Written by: Kenneth Noe, Draughon Professor of Southern History

Contact Info: Charles Israel, Chair, Department of History at

Last Updated: August 08, 2016