Keeping a Legacy Alive: You Can be a Part of History Too

Ensuring the Future of Excellence in Teaching

The History Department of the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University houses the I. G. Greer Professorship--the oldest named professorship at our institution, turning 40 this year and conceived by the class of 1916.

To ensure that this award continues to enhance the teaching and scholarly activities of our faculty members we need your support. Your contribution will go further because history department alumni, Brad and Carole Wilson, have offered to match first time donor contributions to the Greer Campaign for any gift up to $5,000 received from now through the end of the year. 

The difference in this prestigious award and many others is that the award is not granted to just one faculty member for the entirety of their tenure on campus, but it alternates every three years, giving the history department an opportunity to honor and create impact for the many faculty members of the department.

The award honors excellence in teaching and can be used to further research, professional development and education. By maintaining this professorship, the history department can retain and develop better faculty to teach our students.

 “It is a booster to morale,” said Roy Carroll the first I.G. Greer Distinguished Professorship recipient from 1977.


The professorship is named for Dr. Isaac Garfield Greer, a native of Zionville in Watauga County born in 1881.  He first taught in public schools, was the principal at Walnut Grove High School and then a teacher of history at Appalachian State Teacher’s College until 1932.

The I.G. Greer Distinguished Professorship Fund was established in the Appalachian Foundation in 1971 by the class of 1916.  The class, 50 years after their own educational interaction with Greer, wanted to honor the man as their teacher, counselor and friend. The class of 1916 credited their success as a class and as individuals to Greer.

 Over the years the award has been given every two years to a total of 20 outstanding history department faculty since 1977, except for 2015 when the duration of the award was increased to every three years.

“In the tradition of Dr. Isaac Garfield Greer, the history department seeks to keep alive that unique combination of researcher specialist and teacher extraordinaire,” said James Goff, current chair of the history department.

Why Now: Incentive

The professorship is in need of new support to continue the opportunity it affords the faculty members. Alumni of the department, Carole and Brad Wilson have offered a matching support campaign for the Greer Professorship. They will match all first-time donors to the Greer Campaign in any amount up to $5,000 for all gifts that are received from now through December 31, 2017. In order to maintain the same value of support this professorship provided 40 years ago, securing the endowment of this legacy is the reason for this campaign.

“Your support of the I.G. Greer Distinguished Professorship is instrumental in our ability to continue awarding this legacy. The professorship enables the College to recruit and retain the highest quality faculty in the history department at Appalachian,” said Carey Fissel, Director of Development, College of Arts and Sciences.

Support Affords Opportunity

The current recipient, Dr. Jari Eloranta 2015-2018, a scholar in European and World

History, and Business and Economic History, has been using the funds for many purposes from travel to conferences, to presenting work, to a comparative study that will result in an edited volume and several scholarly articles.

“It enabled me to host a post-doctoral scholar from Portugal last semester and we were even able to work at the National Archives in Washington D.C. for a weekend,” said Eloranta.

“All in all, this opportunity has really fostered a sense of appreciation for me in the history department and of my colleagues, who elected me for this position. It is rewarding to be recognized for my research productivity and impact. I think this position is a great platform to elevate the recipients scholarly profile, and help them with much-needed resources to reach their goals. I hope to see the support for this position increase over time, and for future scholars to achieve great things with this extra help!”

Peter Petschauer, 1987-1989 recipient and scholar in German, Russian and 19th Century European History, found great encouragement for his career in the honor of receiving the I.G. Greer Professorship award.

“I was delighted to receive the professorship because it meant that my colleagues in the history department thought my scholarship worthy of such an honor.  In the long run, too, it encouraged me to pursue scholarly activities from then on into retirement.  Without this encouragement, I would most likely not have continued as vigorously as I have,” said Petschauer.

What You Can Do

If you would like to join in supporting this cause and continuing its long history, please contact Carey Fissel at or 828-262-7622. Help the class of 1916 in continuing to honor development and growth through education. Your gift will count twice with the matching program through the end of this year.

Whether it is the award of the professorship or the support that makes it possible, “people can make a lot of difference with a little assistance,” said Roy Carroll, first I. G. Greer Professorship recipient in 1977.


About the History Department
The Department of History at Appalachian State University offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate level, which encourages history majors to develop a comparative approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities, social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location.  Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

May 23, 2017
By Ellen Gwin Burnette

Dr. Isaac Garfield Greer, I.G. Greer
Published: May 23, 2017 3:24pm