Professor Leroy Ashby
LeRoy Ashby is Regents Professor Emeritus at Washington State University, where he taught U.S. history for 36 years. He received numerous teaching honors and was twice named the state of Washington’s outstanding professor.
The product of a working-class family in Grand Junction, Colorado, he enrolled in the local community college despite his high school counselor's judgment that he was not college material. At that junior college (Mesa), and subsequently at Adams State College (B.A.), the University of Wyoming (M.A.) and the University of Maryland (Ph.D.), he met wonderful teachers who shaped his world in myriad ways.
He credits public education -- now sadly under assault -- with opening intellectual and career opportunities that changed his life, allowing him to move "upward and outward."
Before arriving at Washington State University, he also taught in Connecticut and Illinois.
Next July, he and his wife Mary, his childhood sweetheart and best friend, will celebrate their 60th anniversary. Their son Steve and daughter-in-law Kris, after working in Malaysia for a number of years as scuba diving instructors and resort managers, are now pursuing a long-held dream of living and traveling on a sailboat.
Recently, when someone asked Ashby why he usually walks fast, he -- now retired for nine years -- replied that a hooded figure with a scythe is gaining on him.
Among his books are The Spearless Leader: Senator Borah and the Progressive Movement in the 1920s; Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church (co-authored with Rod Gramer); Endangered Children: Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse in American History, and With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830.