Monday, April 17, 2017

Warren Ashby

Warren Ashby was born in Newport News, Virginia on May 15, 1920. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Maryville College in 1939, his Bachelors of Divinity degree in Christian Ethics and Social Problems from Yale University in 1942, and his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Religion and Philosophy, also from Yale, in 1947.

Ashby teaching, 1969
Ashby began his teaching career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1947 before transferring to the Woman’s College (now UNCG) in 1949 to be an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy. Ordained as a Methodist minister, Ashby specialized in Western Ethics and was known to sometimes officiate wedding ceremonies for his students. In 1958, he was promoted to full professor. Following his interest in the life of UNC President Frank Graham, Ashby took a research leave from the college in 1960 to begin collecting materials for an upcoming biography.
Upon his return to Woman’s College in 1961, Ashby continued teaching in the Department of Philosophy. In 1966, he was appointed director of the UNCG honors program and would serve in that role until 1970 when he became the Director of the Residential College (later renamed in his honor in 2007). Ashby’s long standing service to the university was formally acknowledged in 1967 when he received the UNCG Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.  He was recognized again in 1982 with the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award which honors faculty and staff who have provided outstanding leadership and service to the university.

Along with his distinguished teaching career, Ashby was known as a leading advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro. He often held group meetings at his house with students from Woman’s College, Greensboro College and Bennett College to discuss the current social and political climate. In 1955, when it was considered dangerous for a white male to speak out in favor of civil rights in the South, Ashby wrote a letter to the editor of the Greensboro Daily News strongly endorsing an integrated public education. That same year, Ashby led a “faculty council resolution” supporting desegregation of UNC campuses. In the 1960s, during Greensboro’s civil rights demonstrations, Ashby served on several biracial committees “seeking racial harmony in the city.” He continued to push for complete desegregation on the university level through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, he advocated for a quota system that would guarantee minority employment.

Dr. Warren Ashby died October 3, 1985.

Other notable accomplishments of Dr. Warren Ashby:

• Ford Fellowship for Princeton University in Hartford College (1952-1953)

• Consultant for the National Family Life Education Project (ASHA) (1953-1955)

• President of the Family Service-Travelers Aid Association of Greensboro (1958)

• Consultant/Associate Director for Southern Student Human Relations Summer Seminars at Ohio State University and the University of Illinois (1958-1959)

• Director of the International Conferences and Seminars program for Southern Asia in the International Affairs Divisions of the American Friends Service Committee (1964-1966)

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