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Professor emerita Patricia D. Beaver receives WNCHA award for outstanding achievement

BOONE—Appalachian State University professor emerita Patricia D. Beaver has received the 2016 Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) award for outstanding achievement.

Since 1954, WNCHA has presented this annual award to recognize the significant contributions of both individuals and organizations in preserving and promoting the history of the Appalachian mountain region.

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Beaver was honored with a reception April 15 in Appalachian’s Living Learning Center’s Great Hall.

“Dr. Beaver is a most deserving recipient and WNCHA is pleased to help recognize her impressive contribution to the study of Appalachia and mountain regions around the world,” said Bill Lineberry, a member of the WNCHA program committee.

Beaver worked as an anthropologist in mountain communities from western North Carolina to China and Wales, researching the influences of gender, class and ethnicity on social structure. She received her bachelor’s degree and doctorate in anthropology from Duke University. During her time at Appalachian, her leadership positions included chair of the Department of Anthropology, director of the Asian Studies program and director for the Center for Appalachian Studies.

Beaver also served as an associate editor for the NWSA Journal published by the National Women’s Studies Association, as vice president of the Council on Appalachian Women and as president of the Appalachian Studies Association and the Southern Anthropological Society. She wrote or edited nine books and many articles and was project director of the groundbreaking federal Appalachian Land Ownership Study published in 1983, which detailed the overwhelming amount of absentee land ownership across Appalachia. She also served as an advisor on the documentary film project “After Coal,” one of the first initiatives to draw parallels between Appalachia and other mountain regions around the world. The film premieres in the U.S. and United Kingdom this spring.

In 1995, Beaver was appointed to Appalachian’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers. She has been honored with a variety of awards, including the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association in 1986.

Beaver directed the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian for two decades, until her retirement in 2013. She lives in Ashe County with Bob White, her husband of 40 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.