Meet Steve Noll

Bob Graham Center Affiliate Faculty

Master Lecturer Steven Noll is a one-of-a-kind teacher, with an unbridled enthusiasm for history and a passion for helping students find their way at the University of Florida. As an affiliate faculty member of the Bob Graham Center, Noll has demonstrated his commitment to student mentorship and boasts a distinguished academic record. He joined the University of Florida Department of History in 1992 and teaches both American History survey courses as well as courses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the history of disability in America and Florida history.


Ph.D., American History, University of Florida,1991
M.A., American History, University of Florida, 1985
M.Ed., Special Education, University of Florida, 1976
B.A., History, College of William and Mary, 1974


Ditch of Dreams: The Cross-Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida's Future (2009)
Feeble-Minded in our Midst (1995)
Mental Retardation in America (2004)

(Two more under contract — one on disability history and the other on Florida environmental history)

When you're not teaching, where would we find you?

Volunteering every Wednesday with Special Olympics basketball team.

Spending time with my wife Beverly at Gator sporting events ... especially softball.

Traveling around the state as the lead scholar for the Florida Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street Traveling Exhibition.

Visiting one of my two kids — Jody, 33, and his wife Jamie; Amanda, 28, and her fiancé, Evan.

Awards & Recognition

Undergraduate Professor of the Year, History Department, University of Florida (2015, 2011, 2006)

Professor of the Year for the Humanities, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Florida (2014)

Named among the 300 best professors in the U.S. by the Princeton Review (2012)
Teacher of the Year, Alachua County School Board (2002)

Professor of the Year, University of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2002)

National Good Neighbor Teaching Award, featured in National Geographic and Smithsonian (1999)

Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award (1995)

"There's a reason Dr. Noll was named one of the best professors in the country."

"Best professor that I have ever had."

"Dr. Noll is everything you want in a professor. Helpful, good instruction, awesome lectures . . ."

"If you're taking a history class at UF, don't miss Dr. Noll."

Three words students  use to describe you?

Passionate. Energetic. Interactive.

What's in the backpack?

Materials for my courses. Lots of dry-erase markers. Books, books, books.

Preferred method of transportation?

I'm always on my bike (or the city bus)! I rarely drive a car around town. In fact, when I took my Florida history students on a field trip to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house in Cross Creek, they were surprised to learn that I owned a car and that I knew how to drive. My favorite thing about bike riding is that it allows me to reduce my carbon footprint and simultaneously get exercise. It's also really hard to park on campus.

Who is Valdez?

Valdez is the Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society) mascot. In 2009, while cleaning up Hogtown Creek as a service project with the City of Gainesville, one of the students pulled out this poor stuffed animal — a manatee — and it was completely covered in muck. One of my students (now a PhD student in medieval history at Princeton) had a fit at the prospect of throwing it in the trash. We had to save the manatee! So I took it home and my wife and I put it through the washer and the dryer and it cleaned right up. Just needed a little TLC. Believe it or not, the squeaker inside still works too! The students named it Valdez after the Alaska oil spill because it looked like the little guy had gone through that disaster. He goes to Phi Alpha Theta meetings, book sales, induction ceremonies and conferences. He is as much a part of the organization as me or any of the student members.