Dr. George W. Troxler

It was with sadness that the HSNC noted the passing of Dr. George W. Troxler of Elon University who served as our President from 1989-1990. Dr. Troxler was an active member of the HSNC up until his death and despite failing health continued to attend our meetings- with the exception of our most recent gathering in Durham at which his absence was keenly felt and noted. A memorial service was held for Dr. Troxler on November 1, 2019 at Elon Community Church.  Our deepest sympathies are extended to his wife Carole and family. His memoir will be delivered at our Spring meeting. The following excerpts are from the “This Week at Elon Newsletter” which provided a summary of Dr. Troxler’s life and many achievements:

Professor, administrator and University Historian George Troxler dies

By Owen Covington, staff

October 28, 2019

George Troxler, who both shaped and chronicled Elon’s history for nearly five decades while building countless relationships with students, faculty, staff and alumni, has died. He was 77.

A professor of history, dean of cultural and special programs and the university historian, Troxler passed away Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, surrounded by his family. A recipient of the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor, Troxler mentored generations of students, oversaw scores of performances, commencements and high-profile speakers, and headed the university’s 125th anniversary Founders Day commemoration. His celebrated book, “From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University,” stands as a definitive history of Elon.

“George Troxler lived the values of Elon University, through his devotion to his students, his commitment to expanding the horizons of the campus community and his dedication to documenting the history of an institution he loved,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “Throughout his career, he worked to move Elon forward and the impression he has left on this university is a deep one.”

Troxler arrived at Elon in 1969 after receiving his master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native of Greensboro, he received his undergraduate degree from Guilford College before heading to Chapel Hill to begin graduate studies. During three decades in the classroom at Elon, Troxler taught courses in American history, North Carolina history, U.S. diplomatic history and in his field of American Colonial and Revolutionary history.

Troxler contributed to his academic discipline, writing more than a dozen articles, including one focused on Elon’s history, for the “Encyclopedia of North Carolina,” the first comprehensive reference of North Carolina’s people, places, history and culture. He and his wife, Carole Watterson Troxler, an accomplished scholar and professor emerita of history at Elon, were 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.

In 1985 Troxler was named director of cultural programs and led Elon’s efforts to bring internationally acclaimed speakers and performers in music, dance and drama to the campus. In 2009 after 40 years of service to the university, Troxler was praised for his leading role in bringing notable speakers to campus, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, and Queen Noor of Jordan, to name just a few. “Through his many duties — as scheduler, promoter, stage manager and even chauffeur, George has expanded the vision of thousands of Elon students who never imagined they would share a room with a queen, a former president or an astronaut,” read his 40-year service award citation.

In addition to witnessing the growth of Elon’s campus over the past four decades, Troxler was part of the institution’s most significant programmatic changes, providing leadership three times across three decades for the institution’s major, and successful, reaccreditation visits by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

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. The Department of History seminar room on the first floor of Lindner Hall was named and dedicated in honor of George and Carole Troxler in 2014.

Beyond academia, Troxler was actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America. A scout himself, he started as a cub master for the local Pack 51 in 1975 and his work resulted in leadership positions, recognitions and awards at the local, regional and national levels throughout his decades of service. For his service to the Boy Scouts as well as with local historical organizations, Troxler received the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility from Elon in 2005.

“I benefitted a lot from scouting, including understanding how to work with my peers and learning leadership,” Troxler told the Magazine of Elon in 2004. “I think it’s important to be of service to your community.”

Requiescat in pace