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History professor honored as first Wooster Professor

Rebecca Boone, LU history professor
Rebecca Boone, LU history professor

Dr. Rebecca Boone, professor of history, is the recipient of the first Dr. Ralph and Edna Wooster Endowed Professorship.  Boone will hold the position for two years.

The Wooster Professorship was established to honor Ralph A. Wooster, a gifted teacher, who served LU as a faculty member and as dean of faculties and associate vice president for academic affairs and to promote excellence in teaching and research among faculty in the Department of History at Lamar University.

“This is a great honor,” said Lynn Maurer, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. ”Dr. Boone was chosen for her well-rounded approach to service, teaching and research at Lamar University.”

Like Wooster, Boone teaches history and is the chair of the Department of History. She has been a member of the LU faculty since 2002. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, her master’s degree from the University of South Alabama, and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

“Dr. Wooster was a kind man of integrity who inspired the best in people. I am honored to continue his legacy as the first Dr. Ralph and Edna Wooster Endowed professor,” said Boone.   “Being named the first Wooster professor makes me feel that I am valued by my department and college. It inspires me to be a better historian, teacher and administrator.” 

Boone teaches courses on the Renaissance and Reformation, Early Modern Europe, the French Revolution and Napoleon, the Atlantic World, Witchcraft and the Occult, Ancient Greece and Rome, and the History of Food, among others.

Boone’s “Issues in World Cultures II” course was cited as exemplary by the Center for Educational Policy Research. An intellectual and cultural historian, Boone researches the relationship between information and state power in the early modern world. Her books include “War, Domination, and the Monarchy of France,” “Mercurino di Gattinara and the Creation of the Spanish Empire” and “Real Lives in the Sixteenth Century: A Global Perspective.” She is also the general editor of a five-book series on global history, “Real Lives in Global Perspective.” In 2018, Boone was awarded a grant from MIT and the Andrew Mellon Foundation to complete a module for the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. 

Boone plans to use the resources of this endowed professorship to conduct two major projects in the field of global history. She will use a semester course release to resume work on editing a five-volume series of books, “Real Lives in Global Perspective,” based on her third monograph, “Real Lives in the Sixteenth Century: A Global Perspective,” which is under contract with Routledge and is intended for undergraduate students in world history courses. She will also use the professorship to procure necessary resources to continue original research on a global history of apocalypticism, which will enhance a course she currently teaches on the era of the Witch Trials as well as another course she is developing on world revolutions.

“Through teaching global history, I have endeavored to bring the world to our students and to bring our students into the wider world,” said Boone. “Engaging students in a larger conversation about history, especially those students from groups marginalized in current academic culture, will remain my priority as a professor.” 

Wooster earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Houston and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He joined the LU faculty in 1955 after serving in the U.S. Army’s Historical Division where he was given Top Secret and Cosmic (NATO) clearance while stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.

While at LU, Wooster received several teaching awards and was renowned for never referring to notes in his lectures. In addition to over 70 scholarly articles and more than 100 book reviews, he wrote or edited eleven books. The latest edition of his textbook, “Texas History” (2016), was the most widely adopted seventh grade Texas history text in public schools.

After serving as chair of the History Department in 1976, Wooster became dean of Graduate Studies, and later served as dean of faculties and associate vice president for academic affairs. He was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and former president of the East Texas Historical Association, the Texas Association of College Teachers and the Texas State Historical Association.  Upon his retirement following fifty-two years of teaching, Wooster was named Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus by the Texas State University System Board of Regents in 2006. 

Wooster’s son, Robert, established the professorship in memory of his father.

“For years I went to lunch with Professors Wooster, Sutton, Anderson and Serrat at Kampus Korner every Tuesday, and I still cherish the stories and warm hospitality shown by these amazing colleagues, many of whom I miss dearly,” said Boone. “I strive to bring that sense of camaraderie, goodwill and unity of purpose to the faculty and students in the History Department.”  

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