Peggy Herring
Administrative Assistant
English, Rhetoric, & Humanistic Studies

P: (540) 464-7240
F: (540) 464-7779

227 Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA  24450 

email to:

William D. Badgett

Badgett, BillProfessor
English, Rhetoric, & Humanistic Studies

Holder of the Edwin P. Conquest ’14 Chair in the Humanities  

M.A. - Harvard University
B.A. - Virginia Military Institute

221 Scott Shipp Hall
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA  24450
P:  (540) 464-7488
F:  (540) 464-7779

The longest serving faculty member in the history of the Virginia Military Institute and a distinguished professor of the visual arts, music history, and architecture, COL Bill Badgett graduated from VMI in 1953 and, following a tour of duty in the United States Air Force, joined our faculty in 1955. Except for his years in graduate school at Harvard, he has been teaching here ever since.

The range of subjects that COL Badgett teaches is remarkable. Not only has he taught a wide variety of art history courses but he has also offered courses in the history of music, architecture, literature, studio art, and public speaking. An enthusiastic supporter of the integrated English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies curriculum, he has just developed two new signature courses—ERH 230 Artistic Responses to Social and Political Issues and ERH 370 Studies in Art and Culture: Propaganda as Art, 1785-1945—and has plans for others, including ERH 225 Visual Arts Studio.

Perhaps not surprisingly, COL Badgett’s inestimable service to VMI has tended to emphasize cultural and aesthetic values. Examples include his curation of the Scott Shipp Hall Art Gallery (2000) and his organization of VMI’s much-admired Classical Music Concert Series (1992-present).

In recent years, COL Badgett has emerged as one of the most anticipated speakers at the annual joint meeting of the Popular and American Culture Associations in the South. Displaying a breadth of knowledge and expertise rarely found in this age of specialization, selected presentations include:

  • “Halina and Hitler: Distant Echoes of the Holocaust.” PCAS/ACAS, Nashville, Tennessee. September 2012.
  • “Ghosts Within the Walls: Class Without Swank in the Presbyterian Church of Rural Southwest Virginia.” PCAS/ACAS, Wilmington, North Carolina. October 2009.
  • “The Image of the Beseeching Woman in the Poster Propaganda of World War I.” PCAS/ACAS, Louisville, Kentucky. October 2008.
  • “‘A Monotonous Crime’: Art Inspired by the Shelling of Reims Cathedral in World War I.” PCAS/ACAS, Jacksonville, Florida. October 2007.
  • “Remembering the Lusitania: History, Propaganda, Memorial, and Myth.” PCAS/ACAS, Jacksonville, Florida. October 2005.
  • “‘The Tiny Unimportant Self’: Images of Women in the Art of the Third Reich.” PCAS/ACAS, New Orleans, Louisiana. September 2004.
  • “Giving Us the Finger: Kitchener’s Progeny.” PCAS/ACAS, Jacksonville, Florida. October 2003.
  • “Christ in Khaki and Feldgrau: Christian Allusions in the Poster Art of World War II.”  PCAS/ACAS, Charlotte, North Carolina. October 2002.
  • “Warrior Saints, Covert Crucifixions, and Succoring Angels: Religious Imagery in the Poster Art of the Great War.” PCAS/ACAS, Jacksonville, Florida. October 2001.
  • “Virgin, Valkyrie, Floozie, and Nun: Images in Poster Art of the Great War.” PCAS/ACAS, Augusta, Georgia. October 1998.
  • “The Roll that’s Called Up Yonder—or, rather, in the Roanoke Times Obituary Column: An Onomastic Study.” PCAS/ACAS, Columbia, South Carolina. October 1997.

COL Badgett has also guided two award-winning cadet research projects:

  • Noel, Vincent ‘07. Identity and Comradeship in the Art of the Great War. Institute Award for best Departmental Honors Thesis 
  • Rende, Jessica M. ‘11. Kaethe Kollwitz’s Modern Dance of Death. Best Institute Honors Thesis in the Humanities 

COL Badgett is the recipient of three VMI Distinguished Teaching Awards (1974, 1998, 2009), a VMI Distinguished Service Award (2008), and two VMI Achievement Medals (2001, 2007). This unrivaled record suggests the esteem in which Bill Badgett is held by the cadets he has taught for over five decades, by his colleagues, and by the Institute to which he has devoted his entire professional career.