LAWRENCE — Paul Kelton and Sara Gregg, both associate professors in the Department of History, are the 2015 recipients of the Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award. The award will be presented May 16 during the annual doctoral hooding ceremony.
“Recipients of the Byrd award are exemplars of the best qualities in graduate faculty,” said Michael C. Roberts, dean of Graduate Studies. “It is unusual to have two awardees, but even more unusual to have two awardees from the same program. Both awardees have distinguished themselves: Kelton through his long career at KU and his dedication to his graduate students; and Gregg through her dedication not only to her students but to all students in the department. Both scholars have focused on the professional development of trainees within the scholarly community, balanced by a personal concern for the students as individuals. Their dedication is truly remarkable.”
Nominated by students and peers because of her “extraordinary dedication, hard work and drive to reform the history graduate program to greater success,” Gregg was lauded for her commitment, professionalism and vision. One colleague said, “Sara has proven an expert graduate teaching mentor, an exceedingly dedicated dissertation committee member and an indefatigable advocate for transforming the character and tenor of graduate education in the Department of History.”
Current and former students nominated Kelton, noting his dedication to graduate students. One student nominator said, “Paul was, quite simply, the ideal graduate adviser.” Another said, “Paul’s support and guidance never wavered… on the morning of my dissertation defense, his third child was born… when I arrived there he was, unshaven and wearing hospital scrubs, ready to conduct the defense. I have never forgotten that and have always tried to emulate his example of ‘going the extra mile’ for my students.”
Gregg’s research focuses the environmental history of North America, and, more specifically, the intersections between agricultural production and environmental change. She received her doctorate from Columbia University. She came to KU in 2010 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. Her publications include “Managing the Mountains: Land Use Planning, the New Deal, and the Creation of a Federal Landscape in Appalachia” (Yale, 2010) and “American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land” (Yale, 2011).Gregg currently serves as the director of graduate studies in the history department.
Kelton’s research examines the choices and actions of Indigenous peoples and how they have shaped the fates of empires during the era of colonization. His most recent work is “Cherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs: An Indigenous Nation's Fight against Smallpox, 1518-1824.” He received his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma and joined the KU faculty in 2001. Kelton was recently selected to serve as the associate dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, beginning on July 1.
The Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award was established in 1984 in memory of Louise E. Byrd, who served for many years as secretary of the graduates. The award, funded by KU Endowment, honors faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to graduate students and graduate education and who have distinguished themselves as scholars.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
For more information about the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, go to www.graduate.ku.edu.