History Lectures will Bring the World to NGU
Posted on: February 2, 2021
Greenville students and area residents will now have expanded access to notable history scholars, thanks to a new endowed lectureship at North Greenville University.
Robert Boggs, an instructor of history at North Greenville since 1999, has created an endowment specifically for NGU’s History Department to bring published history scholars to speak on campus.
In addition to a recurring annual gift toward the endowment, Boggs has set up a legacy gift of $150,000 in his will to ensure the newly named Boggs-Hickson Lecture in History will continue at NGU for future generations.
“It’s kind of a unique endowment in the sense that he just wanted to be sure that North Greenville always has access to funds to bring in highly-qualified, world-renown history lecturers,” says Julie Styles, NGU’s director of alumni engagement and development.
NGU began hosting its history lecture series in 2008 and has continued the tradition ever since. However, Boggs’ gift will increase the honorarium and travel reimbursement his department can offer for visiting lecturers, as well as expand the opportunities for NGU students, faculty, and local high school students to connect with the lecturers.
Boggs hopes these benefits will attract even more “notable scholars” from around the globe to NGU.
“We look forward to bringing in Christian historians who are doing notable work, as well as historians of Southern and religious history whose scholarship will speak to the interests and culture of the NGU community and the Greenville community writ large,” says Dr. H. Paul Thompson, Jr., dean of NGU’s College of Humanities and History Department chair.
Boggs himself grew up near the NGU community in Slater-Marietta, SC — just nine miles from Tigerville, SC, in rural northern Greenville County — where his parents worked in the mill. He never felt like the setting limited his opportunities to learn, though.
“My friend Lonnie Wilkey’s (’78) mother would take us to Greenville every two weeks and leave us at the library for a few hours,” he says. “I didn’t get it for a long time but, you know, it was the whole idea that she was determined that — my mother was the same way — that we loved our home and we were proud of it, but we needed some knowledge of the world to succeed.”
In fact, Boggs is giving to NGU’s history lecture series to honor his late mother, Melree. While the series was originally named the Hickson Lecture after Dr. Shirley Hickson — who retired in 2012 after 42 years of service to NGU as a history instructor, professor, and department chair —it has been renamed the Boggs-Hickson Lecture in History in light of Boggs’ recent gift to improve the lecture series. The new name honors both Hickson and Boggs’ mother, who always encouraged him to keep reading and learning in order to succeed.
From early on, Boggs’ mother filled their home with books and encouraged him to read the classics. Even back then, he liked setting up his own “classroom” and teaching his friends.
Today, he teaches Western Civilization and Non-Western Civilizations courses at NGU, among others. And like his mother did for him, he emphasizes to his students the importance of gaining a broader understanding of the world to prepare for the future.
“We’re grounded here, and this is a good place to be grounded. NGU does an admirable job in equipping its students to do effective Christian apologetics. But the world cannot be ignored. Apologists need to know of the wider world — its ways and means, and its history — to be even more effective. That’s part of education,” Boggs says. “So my vision was that we bring the world here.”
Learn more about NGU’s history degree and learning experiences at www.ngu.edu/programs/history/.
Did You Know?
The next event in the Boggs-Hickson Lecture in History series will feature Dr. John Fea, history professor at Messiah College and vice president/president elect of the Conference on Faith and History. Fea will present his lecture “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?” on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, at 7 p.m. in the Hayes Ministry Center at NGU. This event is free and open to the public.