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Paul Searls, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Social Sciences

The past never dies for Paul Searls. Leafing through yellowed newspapers to research a strike, he got caught up in the exploits of a 1937 high school basketball team from Burlington. The team lost the New England Championship in a heartbreaker. “I still feel mad about that,” he says, smiling.

In the classroom at Lyndon, Professor Searls teaches that history is “a story you tell about yourself. It’s not dates and facts. I try to convince people that history matters and they should care for it long after they leave this place.”

Author of Two Vermonts: Geography and Identity, 1865–1910, Dr. Searls is fascinated by the state’s struggle to reconcile conflicting impulses—development versus preservation, progress versus tradition. “Vermont is a sort of Petri dish,” he says, “an attempt to solve problems that plague all humans.”

He plans a sequel to Two Vermonts. He also hopes to pen a history of the spitball. “Every good historian should write a baseball book.”

Expertise

  • Vermont history
  • History of sports

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