Thank you, Howard Dorgan

This photo of Appalachian Scholar, Dr. C. Howard Dorgan, is from archive of his papers at the Belk Library at Appalachian State University.  This post was first published on July 9, 2012 at p.m.  I am still working on it so check back for updates.  I'm writing this with the blessing of  Howard Dorgan's daughter, Kelly.  If you have memories you'd like to share, please email me.

Howard Dorgan's daughter,  Kelly,  wrote Mary Thomas at Marshall University on Saturday morning that  "if appropriate,  please provide....[the news] to any ASA people (and beyond) who might be interested" that the family was asking that in lieu of flowers, folks consider a donation to ASA's scholarship fund. Contact for the fund is at the bottom of this post.  I checked with Kelly before I wrote this; it's my effort to spread the word beyond a closed mailing list of how Kelly's dad was a real gift to Appalachia.


Appalachian Scholar, Dr. C. Howard Dorgan died Thursday, July 5 at his home in Boone, NC., leaving his wife Kathleen, a retired teacher; Kelly, who teaches communications at ETSU in Johnson City and Shawn, a CPA.  News of his death reached us this morning through Appalnet, the mailing list for the Appalachian Studies Association. His obituary appeared this afternoon.

Although Dorgan was from Louisiana and spent time in Texas and elsewhere, he joined Appalachian State University faculty in Boone in 1971, remaining with the Department of Communication until his retirement in 2000. He had served as a president of the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA).

I knew of Howard Dorgan through an appreciation of his writing on Southern rhetoric and religion,  especially Central Appalachian Baptist communities. I'll be posting post more below. 

 I knew Dorgan had initiated a silent auction in 1998 when ASA held its conference in Boone to raise money for conference scholarships for community members and students.  As I wrote his daughter Kelly, after I received word of his death,

A scholarship enabled me--an independent writer-- to attend the annual conference in Lexington, KY And I know that it has also funded friends that are similarly situated.

The year he retired, Dorgan won the 2000 Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award . The winner for 2010 was my friend Jack Wright in Athens, OH, who Dorgan well. When Jack read the news of Dorgan's death, he wrote back,

This is truly heartbreaking news. Many of us didn't know he was sick. He did so much for the study of Religion in Appalachia and for raising money for student scholarships to attend the ASA annual conferences.

I seldom saw him without a smile on his face. RIP Dr. Dorgan, You did us a world of good
There's a certain poignancy involved in the fact that next year's ASA Conference is slated to return to Boone.  I hope that folks will honor Howard Dorgan by contributing to his memorial fund:
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:
Appalachian Studies Association
c/o Mary Thomas
Appalachian Studies Association
One John Marshall Dr.
Huntington, West Virginia 25755
**On memo line please write: For Howard Dorgan Silent Auction Scholarship