NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday that MTSU’s Dr. Carroll Van West has been appointed state historian.
West replaces the late Walter T. Durham, who served 11 years in the honorary position.
“Dr. West’s faithful service to his field for many years reflects a commitment to excellence that will serve the citizens of Tennessee very well,” Haslam said in a news release from the governor’s office.
“His incredible body of work speaks for itself, and we are fortunate and grateful to have him as our state historian.”
West has served as director at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area since 2002. He has taught as a professor in the MTSU history department since 1985.
He currently serves as a co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and as a Tennessee representative on the National Board of Advisors of National Trust for Historic Preservation.
West also sits on the executive board of the Lewis and Clark Trust and on the advisory board for the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources Program.
His term as state historian, which began July 1, is for four years.
“There is no greater honor for a historian of Tennessee than to serve the state and its citizens as their state historian. I deeply appreciate Gov. Haslam’s confidence and thank him for this opportunity,” West said.
“I look forward to collaborating with our state agencies, our many outstanding heritage organizations and history programs, and especially the citizens of Tennessee, who for generations have been effective stewards of our documents, objects, landscapes and especially our stories — the stuff of our history that gives us a sense of shared identity, purpose and community.”
West, 58, is a 1977 MTSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. He earned his master’s degree in American history from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1978 and went on to earn his doctorate in history at the College of William & Mary in 1982.
West lives in his native Murfreesboro. He and his wife, Mary Sara Hoffschwelle, have two children: Owen, 22, and Sara, 15.
To learn more about West and the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, click on the graphic above.