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Appalachian studies conference draws more than 800 to Shepherd

ISSUED: 22 March 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University welcomed 825 registered participants and more than 1,000 visitors to the 39th annual Appalachian Studies Association conference March 17-20. The conference theme, “Voices from the Misty Mountains: Diversity and Unity, a New Appalachia,” encouraged discussion about many issues facing the region.

Aside from the networking and research opportunities provided by the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, both of which are affiliated with Shepherd, a series of plenary sessions were open to the public. These included a welcome given by Shepherd’s new president, Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, and Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach; a presentation by the international environmental watchdog SkyTruth, located in Shepherdstown; a discussion of dance traditions in the region; reflections of preserving history and folklife by John Lilly, the former editor of Goldenseal magazine; stories from award-winning “liar” Adam Booth; and past Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker’s keynote address, “Escape from Negro Mountain: Writing History, Righting Wrongs.”

The conference, which was supported by Shepherd University Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council, featured participants from across the country and the world, including a presentation by a Ukrainian delegation about mountain life in the Ukraine.

Those who were unable to attend the conference can still see a photographic exhibit by nationally-renowned photographer Builder Levy, which will remain at the Scarborough Library until April 29 at which time it will go on tour around the country. For more information about the exhibit, visit

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