Thursday, October 2, 2014

History of the University of North Carolina at Asheville now available online.

William Highsmith
Former Chancellor William Highsmith’s history of UNC Asheville, The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years, was originally published in a limited run in 1991. Thanks to the NC Digital Heritage Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, a digitized copy of Highsmith’s history is now available online through the Digital NC website. You can access it via this link.

William Highsmith brought a wealth of personal experience to this history, having spent 22 years as the chief administrative officer at the institution.  He was hired as President of Asheville-Biltmore College in 1962, which at the time had the distinction of being the first state-supported Community College in North Carolina. Under Highsmith’s direction the college grew into a four-year liberal arts university and joined the UNC system as the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Highsmith became UNC Asheville’s first Chancellor and held that position until his retirement in 1984.  

After his retirement  Highsmith settled into his new life as Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of History and began work on his history of the University.  He conducted research and dictated an extensive narrative, but at the time of his death in July 1987 the history was incomplete. After his death the manuscript was edited and revised by his widow, Allene Highsmith, and Chris Streppa, then Director of Publications at UNC Asheville.  The book was published by UNC Asheville in 1991 and now has a new life on DigitalNC.

Cover of the 1991 print edition
University Archives in Ramsey Library has copies of Highsmith's original narrative, notes on the posthumous editing process, working drafts of the revised copy, correspondence related to the publication of the completed book, and the final print edition of The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years.

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