Section Navigation

Three Inducted into Rhododendron Society for Contributions to Teaching

rhodo.jpgBOONE– Three Appalachian State University alumni have been inducted into the Reich College of Education’s Rhododendron Society. The Rhododendron Society recognizes Appalachian graduates whose service to education as teachers, librarians, human service professionals, or administrators has been remarkable and exemplary. The 2002 recipients are Minnie Lou Edwards Irwin and John F. Woodruff of Sparta and Richard Lee Zuber of Winston-Salem.Irwin graduated from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1941 with a BS degree in teaching English and science. She began a career teaching in Alleghany County and from 1941-1985 taught high school science. She also tutored remedial students at Wilkes Community College, where she served on the board of directors from 1991-99. She is a charter and current member of the board of directors of Alleghany Connection, an organization associated with the Governor’s One-on-One Volunteer Program that since 1986 has helped high-risk students pursue educational opportunities. Her honors include Alleghany County’s Teacher of the Year in 1969 and a Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service in 1992.

After obtaining his BS in teaching science in 1954, Woodruff returned to his native

Alleghany County, where he served Piney Creek School, first as a teacher and later as principal

until 1963. During this time he completed his MA in administration and social studies at Appalachian. He later became superintendent of Alleghany County Schools, serving until his retirement in 1984.

Retirement did not stop his involvement with education. In 1984 he founded the Alleghany Education Foundation, which provides scholarship support for local students and provides small grants to support schools and promote SAT improvement. He currently serves as the organization’s president.

Zuber has distinguished himself as teacher, advisor, published scholar and administrator. Raised in Avery County, he graduated from Appalachian magna cum laude in 1954 with a BS in teaching math and social studies. He earned a master’s degree in history from Emory University in Atlanta and a PhD in history from Duke University. His graduate studies were highlighted by a grant from the Danforth Foundation (the first such grant to an Appalachian graduate) and an award-winning doctoral dissertation.

Zuber began his post-graduate teaching career at The Citadel in 1960. In 1962 he joined Wake Forest University’s history department. He served as department chairman from 1975-83 and the department’s director of graduate studies from 1983-89. He retired in 2000.

Picture Caption: From left, John F. Woodruff and Minnie Lou Edwards Irwin of Sparta and Richard Lee Zuber of Winston-Salem.