Ronald Eller, History

Ronald Eller
Associate Professor
Ph.D., North Carolina, 1979





Originally from southern West Virginia, Ron Eller has spent the last thirty years writing and teaching about the Appalachian region.  A descendent of eight generations of families from Appalachia, Dr. Eller is the former director of the Appalachian Center and Professor of History at the University of Kentucky where he coordinates research and service programs on a wide range of Appalachian policy issues including education, health care, economic development, civic leadership and the environment.  He is in demand as a speaker on Appalachian issues at colleges, conferences, and community forums throughout the nation and he serves as a frequent consultant to civic organizations and the national media.

A former Rockefeller Foundation Scholar, Dr. Eller holds the Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is widely known as a scholar of Appalachian history and the study of rural economic development and social change.  He has published more than sixty articles and reports but is most well known for his award-winning book Miners, Millhands and Mountaineers: The Industrialization of the Appalachian South. He has served as Chairman of the Kentucky Appalachian Task Force, founding Chairman of the Kentucky Appalachian Commission and as a member of the Sustainable Communities Task Force of President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. 

Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Jim Wayne Miller Award for Distinguished Service to Appalachia, the Willis D. Weatherford Award for Appalachian Scholarship, the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation Special Award, and the University of Kentucky William E. Lyons Award for Outstanding Public Service. He has recently worked on projects in rural education reform with the Ford Foundation, the American Council on Education, and the American Association of Community Colleges.  He currently serves as the John D. Whisman Appalachian Scholar for the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington.  Dr. Eller's latest book, Uneven Ground, is available from the University Press of Kentucky. He is presently at work on a history of Poverty and the Politics of Development in Appalachia Since 1940.

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