Wilfred M. McClay has been SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is also Professor of History, since 1999. He has also taught at Georgetown University, Tulane University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Dallas, and is Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum, and a member of the Society of Scholars at the James Madison Program of Princeton University. He has served since 2002 as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is Vice Chairman of the newly created Jack Miller Center for the Teaching of America's Founding Principles. He is author of The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America (North Carolina, 1994), which won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history published in the years 1993 and 1994. Among his other books are The Student's Guide to U.S. History (2001), Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in Modern America (2003), Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past (2007), and a forthcoming collection of essays entitled The Burden of the Humanities. He is currently at work on a biographical study of the American sociologist David Riesman, and is editing a collection of his own scattered essays entitled Pieces of a Dream: Historical and Critical Essays.
He held the Royden B. Davis Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgetown University for the academic year 1998-99. Among his other awards, McClay was Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Studies for spring 2007 at the University of Rome, and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Academy of Education, the Howard Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, and the Danforth Foundation. He was coeditor of Rowman and Littlefield's book series entitled American Intellectual Culture, has served on the editorial boards of First Things, The Wilson Quarterly, The Public Interest, Society, American Quarterly, and Touchstone, and is a frequent contributor to a wide variety of both scholarly and general-interest publications. He was educated at St. John's College (Annapolis) and the Johns Hopkins University, where he received a Ph.D. in history in 1987.