A space on the first floor of Lindner Hall now bears the name of two emeriti professors of history whose combined service to Elon University spans more than three quarters of a century.
The campus community gathered Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the achievements of a husband-and-wife team whose knowledge and dedication to their craft helped shape the minds of thousands of Elon University students over the course of four decades.
The Elon University Board of Trustees named a seminar room on the first floor of Lindner Hall in honor of George and Carole Troxler, accomplished scholars who have contributed to the preservation and public dissemination of history at national, state, local and institutional levels.
The Feb. 25 dedication ceremony in the Lindner Hall foyer featured remarks by the Troxlers, Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, and Associate Professor Charles Irons, chair of the university’s Department of History and Geography.
With their two daughters in the audience, the Troxlers offered gratitude to the board of trustees, to their former colleagues, and to the students they enriched through their teaching. Carole Watterson Troxler, who retired from teaching in 2003, spoke on behalf of the couple as she shared how the family didn’t initially plan to spend many years at Elon.
However, with expanding opportunities to teach new classes, and George Troxler eventually being appointed to lead the university’s Office of Cultural and Special Programs, Elon became their home from 1969 until George’s retirement in 2010.
“I will say this, certainly for George and me both, because he said it before I did, that we did not expect to stay at Elon very long,” Carole Troxler said. “Not that we didn’t like it. We did. We liked it a lot. But Elon has become the place that we always wanted to work. I’d like to think we had a little something to do with that, but I see faces in this room, both of graduates and colleagues, who certainly had more to do with that than we did. We are honored by your presence.”
Irons praised the Troxlers’ dedication to their profession and cited the importance of their work as historians on a local level. “In a sense, naming the seminar room after the Troxlers serves some of the same functions as the good local history that your writing serves,” Irons said. “By celebrating and remembering such gifted scholars and good citizens, we’re reminding ourselves of our best values, and of some of the core functions of our discipline.
“We’re telling ourselves who we are and what we aspire to be as historians at Elon.”
Carole Troxler is the author of five books, including “The Loyalist Experience in North Carolina” (1976), “Shuttle and Plow: A History of Alamance County, North Carolina” (1999) and “Farming Dissenters: The Regulator Movement in Piedmont North Carolina” (2011). Most of her award-winning articles in scholarly journals explore the impact of the American Revolution on the southern backcountry and the subsequent loyalist migration to Canada and the Bahamas. She was a pioneer in the study of black loyalists.
Carole Troxler regularly taught advanced courses in the histories of England, Ireland, Scotland, Europe, Canada and Latin America and also western civilization surveys. Her seminars ranged from Tudor England to methods of researching local history.
George Troxler spent 16 years as a history faculty member before being appointed to lead Elon’s cultural programs in 1985. He led the university’s efforts to bring internationally acclaimed speakers and performers in music, dance and drama to the campus, and he managed Commencement, convocations and other major campus events. Following his retirement in 2010, George Troxler began research for the new book, “From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University,” the first detailed study of Elon’s history in more than 30 years richly illustrated with more than 400 photographs and illustrations.
George and Carole Troxler have been honored 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.
“George and Carole, you honor us by your commitment to Elon, to our students, and to the study of history,” Lambert said as he presented the Troxlers with a plaque to close the ceremony. “Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.”