George Troxler named University Historian

The professor emeritus will lead efforts to preserve Elon University's history.

George W. Troxler is Elon's University Historian
Elon University President Leo M. Lambert has appointed emeritus faculty member George W. Troxler to the new position of University Historian. Troxler served for more than four decades as professor of history and dean of cultural and special programs before he retired in 2010. For the past three years Troxler has been researching and writing a new book on Elon’s history titled “From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University.” The book will be released next March as part of the university’s 125 anniversary Founders Day celebration.

“Dr. Troxler has demonstrated his love of Elon University in countless ways since he arrived on campus in 1969,” Lambert said. “George is the leading scholar of the university’s history and we are deeply indebted to him for the work he has done to preserve Elon’s story for future generations. As University Historian, he will continue his work to carefully document and interpret the evolution of our university.”

Troxler received his master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Elon he taught courses in American history, North Carolina history, U.S. diplomatic history and in his field of American Colonial and Revolutionary history.

In 1985 Troxler was named director of cultural programs and led Elon’s efforts to bring internationally acclaimed speakers and performers in music, dance and drama to the campus. Troxler also served for more than a decade as chief graduation marshal, bringing a commitment to excellence to managing Commencement, convocations and other major campus events.

Troxler was instrumental in researching the history of two of Elon’s most important artifacts: the bell that hung in the Main Administration Building, which was destroyed during the 1923 campus fire; and the bell from Graham College, the predecessor institution to Elon, which is rung at important university events.

During his meticulous research for “From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University,” Troxler studied primary source materials in the university’s archives. The book provides thorough documentation and outstanding analysis of the daily operations and milestones in the university’s 125-year history, including the first comprehensive record of Elon’s growth under the leadership of President Emeritus J. Fred Young and current President Leo M. Lambert. Troxler also worked with archivist Katie Nash to review the visual history of Elon and choose photos for the richly illustrated volume.

In addition to witnessing the growth of Elon’s campus over the past four decades, Troxler was part of the institution’s most significant programmatic changes, providing leadership for three of the institution’s major reaccreditation visits by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Troxler has contributed to his academic discipline, writing more than a dozen articles, including one focused on Elon’s history, for the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, the first comprehensive reference of North Carolina’s people, places, history and culture.

He has been honored along with his wife, Carole Watterson Troxler, an accomplished scholar and professor emerita of history at Elon, with the Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies for lifetime contributions to the advancement of North Carolina history.

The Troxlers have been philanthropic supporters of the university, establishing the Troxler-Watterson Endowed History Scholarship and the Watterson-Troxler Scholarship to assist students studying history.