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USU Eastern professor makes history for college

A faculty member, not housed on the Logan campus, made history for Utah State University by being the first to receive promotion and tenure as a full professor.

Robert S. McPherson, who teaches on the USU Eastern Blanding Campus, was approved by the USU Board of Trustees April 6 to be promoted to professor in the Department of History, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"What an honor for Dr. McPherson and what a source of pride for USU Eastern and the Blanding Campus," said Joe Peterson, USU Eastern chancellor. "I congratulate him on this groundbreaking achievement."

McPherson is well known for his expertise in Native American History and Culture. USU Eastern Blanding Campus serves Native American students who comprise 60 percent of the nearly 800 undergraduates enrolled.

The Blanding Campus has the third largest percentage of Native Americans of the 35 most significant institutions in the Four-Corner region.

The campus's close proximity to the Navajo Reservation makes it ideally suited for programs related to Native American studies, McPherson said.

In the same way that people travel to Europe to learn about the medieval period, he said his dream is for Blanding to become the destination campus for those seeking to immerse themselves in Native American studies.

Although he does not seek the publicity, McPherson said he welcomes it if having faculty with full professor status elevates the academic recognition of the campus in Native American studies."

Guy Denton, Blanding Campus director, said McPherson deserves the recognition.

McPherson is an award-winning author of several dozen publications and 10 books, the majority of them focusing on the Navajo people. Among a number of awards and recognition of his scholarly work of Native Americans, he is winner of the 2009 Utah Book Award for nonfiction for his book, "Comb Ridge and Its People" by USU Press. He is former vice president of the College of Eastern Utah where he began teaching for the San Juan Campus in 1977.

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