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Longtime APSU history professor to retire: New appointment meshes his primary interests

April 9, 2003

After 25 years of teaching, when most people begin dreaming of retirement, an Austin Peay history professor is beginning a new chapter in his life.

Dr. Malcolm Muir has accepted an appointment that, essentially, meshes his two great professional passionshistory and the military.
April 9, 2003

After 25 years of teaching, when most people begin dreaming of retirement, an Austin Peay history professor is beginning a new chapter in his life.

Dr. Malcolm Muir has accepted an appointment that, essentially, meshes his two great professional passionshistory and the military.

A member of the APSU history faculty since 1977, Muir accepted a four-year appointment at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. He will fill VMI's Thomas Bahnson and Anne Bassett Stanley Professorship in Ethics and Integrity. He also will serve as director of the John A. Adams '71 Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis.

With an enrollment of about 1,300 cadets, VMI has a rich history dating to 1839. Its alumni include 265 flag or general officers in the Army Forces, including Gen. George C. Marshall, chief of staff of the U.S. Army during World War II. Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize for fostering the Marshall Plan to rebuild war-torn Europe.

Why was this particular offer appealing to Muir? He says, “For one thing, I will teach a variety of specialized military history courseson World War I, World War II, air power, sea powerthat will enable me to acquaint students with more focused areas in my specialty. For another, I will ‘stand up' the new Adams Center for Military History and Strategic Analysis with the mission of furthering the study of the military's role in our country's life, past and present.”

Muir came to APSU after earning his doctorate from the Ohio State University. His master's degree is from Florida State University, Tallahassee, and his bachelor's degree is from Emory University, Atlanta.

Muir was chair of the department of history and philosophy from 1990-2000. During his years as a member of the APSU faculty, he was granted leave by the University to fill several prestigious visiting professorships. His APSU students benefited from these experiences and the new perspectives gained while he was teaching at other institutions.

During 1987-88, he held the Secretary of the Navy's Research Chair in Naval History at the Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C. He had the honor of being the first professor to receive two separate teaching appointments (1988-89 and 1989-90) as Visiting Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

In 1996-97 he was the Visiting Professor of History for the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and in 2002 he occupied VMI's Edwin P. Conquest Chair in Military History.

In addition to his record of 67 papers and presentations at professional conferences, he has chaired and commented on sessions at 48 additional conferences. Between 1985-2000, he organized 180 sessions at three regional meetings sponsored by the Society for Military History.

He was the associate editor of the three-volume “Naval Warfare: An International Encyclopedia,” which was published in 2002 by ABC-CLIO. He also was the editor of “The Human Tradition in the World War II Era,” Volume 8, published in 2001 by Scholarly Resources.

Perhaps Muir is best known for his two books: “The Iowa-Class Battleships: Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin,” published by Blandford Press, Dorset, England, in 1987, and “Black Shoes and Blue Water: Surface Warfare in the United States Navy, 1945-1975,” published in 1996 by the Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.

A lifelong learner himself, Muir has visited 1,851 sites of historical, cultural and natural significance in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries “to inspect the ground” and to acquire materials for class lectures and scholarly presentations. From his travels and research, he has assembled more than 30,000 slides to support his classes and presentations.

Through the years, Muir has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. In addition to being named the recipient of such APSU honors as the 1992 Richard M. Hawkins Award and the 2000 Distinguished Professor Award, he also was presented the U.S. Department of the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal in 1990, the North American Society for Oceanic History's John Lyman Book Award in 1996 and the Larry Rowen Remele Award in 1999 for outstanding service to the Northern Great Plains History Conference.

Dr. Dewey Browder, professor of history and chair of the department of history and philosophy, first met Muir at West Point, where both were on the faculty and where, according to Browder, Muir was the unofficial mentor to many less-experienced faculty. The two men forged a close personal and professional bond.

Calling Muir “virtually a legend among military historians,” Browder said wherever he goes, including in Europe and Canada, historians know Muir's name and work.

“Kip Muir is one of the finest scholars I've ever met and a wonderful colleague,” Browder said. “He is perhaps the most productive professor in Austin Peay's history.”

According to Muir, leaving APSU is bittersweet. “After 25 years, I part from many excellent colleagues and fine students,” he said. “The University has been supportive of my endeavors, and I am honored to have served on its faculty for the past quarter century.”

Muir and his wife, Carol, will be moving to Lexington, Va., this summer.