Selby named as first Turbyfill Professor of History

Salem, Va. - President Michael Maxey and Dean Richard Smith are pleased to announce Dr. John Selby has been selected as the first holder of the John R. Turbyfill Professorship in History. The Turbyfill Professorship was established in January 2010 by John R. Turbyfill '53 of Bonita Springs, Fla.

A specialist in American history with a research focus on the Civil War, Selby wrote Virginians at War, a study of seven young Virginians during and after the Civil War. His book was nominated for the Library of Virginia award in 2002. He wrote an essay for the five-volume series Virginia at War, 1861-1865 edited by William Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr. Selby currently is editing a collection of Civil War memoirs titled, War Talks of Confederate Veterans, vol. 2 for the University of Virginia Press.

Selby, who has taught at Roanoke College since 1986, earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona and his master's and Ph.D. at Duke University. He was chosen as the Blue Key/Cardinal Key Outstanding Professor in 1991, an award given by students to one professor each year. He also received the Outstanding Advisor Award in 1992 and the Outstanding InterFraternity Council Advisor Award in 1991.

Selby has been active in faculty governance and community outreach. He directed the College's premier lecture program, the Henry H. Fowler Public Policy program, from 1987 to 1992. He also participated in the NATO Discussion Series held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989. Twice elected as the Faculty Moderator, Selby has served on every major committee at the college, including the search committee for the vice president and dean in 2001-02.

"Dr. Selby exemplifies the best qualities of a Roanoke faculty member: an excellent teacher and scholar who is devoted to his students, his department and the College," Smith said. "Roanoke College is indeed fortunate to have him on its faculty."

Turbyfill joined the Roanoke College Board of Trustees in 1982 and served as its chair from 1986 to 2003. He began his volunteer involvement with Roanoke College as the president of the Roanoke College Alumni Association in 1975. In 1978, he served as the chair of the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Turbyfill is a member of the Society of 1842, which recognizes those individuals who have included Roanoke College as a beneficiary in their estate plans. Roanoke College's front quad was named as the John R. Turbyfill Quadrangle in 2003 in honor of his valuable and distinguished service to the College.

Turbyfill had a long and distinguished career with the Norfolk & Western Railway becoming Executive Vice President for Finance and retiring as Vice Chair of Norfolk Southern Corporation. He also has been an active civic leader within the Roanoke Valley and Tidewater communities.

A native of Salem, Turbyfill graduated from Roanoke College as Salutatorian with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to earn the L.L.B. degree in 1956 from the University of Virginia Law School.

Turbyfill has long had a strong interest in history and in professors who are excellent teachers and scholars committed to enhancing the lives of students. His decision to create a professorship was an effort to recognize and honor one such professor in the history department.

Roanoke College, an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a classic, undergraduate setting. Roanoke prepares students for their futures through its commitment to providing a true classic college experience. Roanoke is one of just 280 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast."

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

Released: March 5, 2010
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