category: Faculty Emeriti - In Honor Of

Les Brown

Professor Emeritus of Biology

Les Brown

Dr. Leslie (Les) Morris Brown (Jan. 19, 1941-), the son of C. Eugene and Nelle Hensley Brown, was one of the few babies born at home during that time. He grew up in North Cove, in northern McDowell County, N.C. Les received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Appalachian State University, where he met and married Joyce Diann Compton from Troutman, N.C.

They are the parents of two daughters, Melissa Diann Brown and Michelle Leslie Brown.

Les received the Ph.D. in vertebrate zoology from the University of Southern Mississippi. His dissertation was on the hematology of several species of turtles from the Gulf States Rivers. After teaching at Gardner-Webb for over 40 years, he retired and was elected professor emeritus. While a professor of biology at Gardner-Webb University, Brown taught human anatomy and physiology, vertebrate zoology, general biology and physical and environmental geology in the day program. He also taught human biology and environmental science in the Degree Completion Program.

Brown has done some shoestring research on the Harvestmen (Leiounum elegans) or daddy longlegs of Linville Caverns, N.C. He presented the results of 16 years of study of the harvestmen at the N.C. Academy of Sciences. He has, along with his wife, Joyce, researched historical and oral accounts of events that occurred in North Cove, N.C., the community where he was reared. He had a paper jointly published with his wife, Joyce, in the “Journal of Appalachian Studies” (“Riding the Rail to Legend: The North Cove Tally War as Show of Force, As Manipulated Account, As Oral History.”) Another scholarly article, “The Crime of Malachia Hayden: Loss of a Blue Ridge Community,” was also published in the “Journal of Appalachian Studies.” Abstracts of these papers were published in the “Encyclopedia of Appalachia.

Brown continues to be interested in Appalachian Studies, especially as the discipline relates to his childhood community in the mountains of North Carolina. He also enjoys writing fiction and has published short stories emerging from his mountain origins in “Appalachian Heritage” and “Now and Then Magazine.” His short story, “Iron Bridge Sunday,” was published in the 2006 edition of the “Broad River Review,” the literary journal of Gardner-Webb University, and his photography is on the cover of the 2014 edition. One of Brown’s poems was honored with a finalist place in the North Carolina Poetry Society’s Poet Laureate Award for 2013. He has also had a short story selected as second place in the Western North Carolina Writers Network contest.

Faculty Emeriti Luncheon and celebration, June 2016

Brown is known as the “Father of the LOTS program,” which began in 1996 and has continued as the Life of the Scholar. The purpose of the program is to enhance and develop scholarly pursuits among university students and faculty. The program included, during his tenure, a scholarly lecture series, a scholarly showcase and colloquium, publication of the “Gardner-Webb Review,” as well as other projects and events.

During his years at Gardner-Webb, Brown was a devoted participant in the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) yearly conferences and participated in a panel discussion at the national conference in Indiana one year. He also presented three papers at other National WAC conferences, focusing on incorporating writing exercises into science classes.

Les and Joyce live in Troutman, N.C. For several years they wrote a monthly column for The Star in Shelby, N.C., and have started book and writing groups in Troutman. Les has honed his painting and drawing skills, which often depict local landmarks in McDowell and Iredell counties. Les was the feature artist for an exhibit and show at Gardner-Webb’s Tucker Student Center Art Gallery; faculty, staff, the community and alumni were able to witness a side of Les and his creativity that may have been overlooked while he served in the Natural Science Department.

Joyce and Les continue to enjoy travel, hiking in the mountains, and kayaking.

Source: Personal interview—Sherman Parrish, Doris Banner

Updated 2014: Les Brown

Updated May 2022: Noel T. Manning II

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