The Appalachian Studies Program at Virginia Tech will celebrate its first 25 years through a series of public events.

Noted author and journalist Jeff Biggers will give a presentation entitled Legacy: How Appalachians Can Lead the Nation Toward Clean Energy on Wednesday, April 21 at 8 p.m. in Colonial Hall, Squires Student Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Biggers is author of The United States of Appalachia and Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartlands, and has appeared on National Public Radio and Public Radio International. He has contributed to scores of travel, literary and music magazines, and national and foreign newspapers. Biggers is also a regular writer for the Huffington Post on environmental issues pertaining to mountaintop removal coal mining. He will be available for a book signing after the lecture.

Biggers will also lead a discussion on Thursday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m in the Torgerson Museum Room (Torg 1100) where faculty, students, and interested others can meet with him informally.

On Friday, April 23, from noon to 4 p.m., an exhibit in the Solitude outbuilding near the Duck Pond on the Virginia Tech campus will feature photographs and material culture of the region from the Virginia Tech collection of noted Appalachian photographer, Earl Palmer. There will also be information about the restoration of Solitude, the future home of the Appalachian Studies Program. Music will be provided by the Folk and Bluegrass Club of Virginia Tech.

Started in 1985, Appalachian Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences currently engages about 600 students per year in various course offerings. The Appalachian Studies minor provides students with the opportunity to study complex social, political, economic, and environmental issues important to the region from a number of disciplinary perspectives.

Find more information on a 25th anniversary reception and dinner on April 21 online or contact e-mail Anita Puckett, director of Appalachian Studies at (540) 231-9526.

  • Read more about the research of a recent graduate who introduced Appalachian culture to Spain.