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''Mother of Appalachian Studies'' to address 70+ midyear graduates, Dec. 12

Dr. Helen Matthews Lewis, a founding member of the Appalachian Studies Association will be the speaker at Berea College's Recognition Ceremony for mid-year graduates on Sunday, December 12, 2010, at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Students participating in the service are expected to complete degree requirement at the end of December 2010 or January 2011.

Dr. Helen Matthews Lewis

Known as the "Mother of Appalachian Studies," Lewis, a sociologist, community educator, writer and former professor of sociology and anthropology, has taught at several college and universities and has authored numerous books about Appalachian issues.

She taught at University of Virginia College at Wise from 1955-1977, University of Tennessee ( 1996-97), Berea College (1994-95), East Tennessee State University (1967-69), Appalachian State University (1980, 1999,2001,2002,2004) and was a staff at Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee (1977-1997). In 2001 she served as president of Appalachian Studies Association. She served as interim director of Berea College's Appalachian center from 1993-95.

Author of books and articles on Appalachian issues, particularly coal-mining families and communities, Lewis worked with Appalshop, an arts and education center in Whitesburg, Kentucky, to develop a film series on Appalachia. Her books include "Mountain Sisters: From Convent to Community in Appalachia," (University Press of Kentucky, 2003); "It Comes From the People, Community Development and Local Theology" (1995) and "Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case" (Appalachian Consortium Press, 1978.)

Lewis lives in north Georgia and continues to teach part time and consult on community-based research, film and video projects and community humanities projects involving oral history, Appalachian culture and social issues.

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