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NSU anthropology professor still teaching after 50 years

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For The Town Talk



Pete Gregory 


NATCHITOCHES — A one-year appointment has turned into a 50-year career at Northwestern State University for Professor of Anthropology Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory.

“I’m pleased to have been able to be here for such a length of time,” said Gregory, who began working at Northwestern on Sept. 15, 1961.

“I am grateful to have good health and to have so many good friends over the years. I came here when I was 23 as a temporary instructor and planned to go back to LSU for graduate school. I liked it here, then a position opened up in anthropology and geography, and I stayed.”

He is believed to be the longest-serving employee in Northwestern’s 127-year history, working at the institution for almost 40 percent of its tenure. Gregory has taught thousands of students who have gone on to become anthropologists, archeologists, nurses, teachers, businesspeople, professionals and even university presidents.

“Having had the good fortune of taking anthropology under Dr. Gregory when I was a student at Northwestern, I can attest to his teaching excellence and caring concern for students,” said NSU President Randall J. Webb.

“But his influence extends far beyond the walls of Northwestern, to include work with professional organizations, colleagues in the field and constituent groups in need of information or assistance. He is an exceptional professional and person, and Northwestern is a far better place for his presence on our faculty and faithful service for 50 years. It will be even better if he remains a pillar of this fine university for many years to come.”

Gregory grew up in Ferriday, and from an early age, he was drawn to the field of anthropology and archaeology.

“I grew up with an interest in American Indians due to a long family connection, and I was able to see things and meet people from different backgrounds so I was getting an avocational education in both fields,” he said.

Gregory earned a bachelor’s in anthropology and a master’s in geography at LSU. He later received a master’s and doctorate in anthropology from SMU. After graduating from LSU, Gregory learned about a job at Northwestern.

Being just 23 initially had some disadvantages for Gregory.

One spring, “I went to the bookstore to pick up my cap and gown for commencement, and one of the staff in the bookstore told me to be careful and not drop or wrinkle Mr. Gregory’s cap and gown.”

He said the rewarding part of the job is working with students and people of different backgrounds and cultures.

“I like what I do. The students have been really good,” said Gregory. “They have been an amazing bunch. Our students are as good as I could have anywhere, and they have gone on to do remarkable things.

“There is no other place I could go to and find so many distinctive cultures including American Indians, Creoles and Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos,” he said. “Anthropology has a message. We live in a multicultural world, and you have to understand people of different cultures and backgrounds. By living in Natchitoches, you can experience that every day.”



Written by demon53

August 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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