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Butts’ 40-year academic career celebrated

Dr. Jeff Butts’ 40-year career in higher education was celebrated by colleagues from the Department of Biology and friends from across the university during an on-campus reception Dec. 6. Butts retired from his position as a professor in the biology department at the end of fall semester.

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Butts came to Appalachian in 1981 as an associate professor and chair of the department after serving on the UNC Charlotte faculty.

“I joke about high achievers, but Jeff is in a stratosphere above that in terms of what he has done not only for the university but also for AAUP,” said department chair Dr. Susan Edwards. “He has really advocated for faculty and that’s something we will sorely miss.”

Edwards called Butts a great mentor during her eight years at Appalachian. “He has been very helpful with my career and I am very thankful for that,” she said.

Butts chaired the biology department from 1981 to 1995. He served as director of the Hubbard Center, now Hubbard Programs for Faculty Excellence, from 1995 to 2001. He chaired the university’s academic policies and procedures committee for six years, was a member of Faculty Senate, was president of Appalachian’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and received the inaugural Appalachian American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Recognition Award for Academic Freedom and Faculty Governance in 2006.

“He has always supported faculty and worked to enrich their careers,” Edwards said. Butts also was president of the North Carolina Conference of AAUP for two terms and chaired national AAUP committees. He also received the first Charles and Shirley Weiss Award for outstanding service to the North Carolina Conference of the AAUP.

He has served as vice president and president of the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists.

Locally, Butts has served on the Watauga Education Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the Appalachian Chorale and First Presbyterian Church in Boone.