The Converse community is invited to celebrate the life of Dr. Charles DeLoach Ashmore, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of English, who died Wednesday, September 9, 2009. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, October 22 at 11:30 AM in Gibbs Chapel in the Montgomery Student Center at Converse. Due to construction of the new apartment housing, the Drayton Ave. entrance to the campus is temporarily closed. Parking is available on the Wilson Circle and in the Twichell Lot on Fairview Ave. Attendees needing mobility assistance should contact Jason Loscuito, chaplain, at (864) 596-9078.
Dr. Ashmore’s survivors include his wife, Virginia Ashmore of Marietta; one daughter, Mary Ashmore Hagan and husband, Harry of Powder Springs; three sons, Charles Ashmore of Trabuco Canyon, CA, James Ashmore and wife, Virginia of Durham, NC, Richard Ashmore of St. Thomas, VT; five grandchildren; nephew, Toxey Hall and wife, Sara of Merritt Island, FL. The family has requested that memorials be made to Converse College or First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg.
Dr. Ashmore joined the Converse family in 1958 as professor of English, became acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences in 1961, was appointed dean in 1962 and continued to serve in that capacity until 1982. As dean, he worked to advance the quality of student work, the curriculum, and the academic standing of the College. Under his administration, the percentage of PhDs on the faculty significantly increased. While insisting upon a high standard of teaching, he successfully encouraged scholarly activity on the part of the faculty. He assisted in obtaining grants from the federal government and independent foundations for institutes and conferences in order to encourage scholarship. Among the grants was one from the National Endowment for the Humanities to establish a new Center of Contemporary Humanities and an innovative new interdisciplinary major.
Recognizing the changing roles and needs of young women in modern society, Dr. Ashmore encouraged the establishment of new academic departments in computer science, economics, and business administration. Perhaps the most significant development in the curriculum under his administration was a Master of Arts in Teaching program, which began in 1962, and launched Converse College into the field of graduate education. A large grant from the Ford Foundation was acquired to start this program. Converse’s first summer session was established in 1962.
Realizing the importance of an international component in the education of Converse students, Dean Ashmore worked with faculty and gave his support to establishing a study/abroad program. Among the first of these were the Junior Year in France and the Fall Term in London, the latter being established in 1970.