Dr. Margaret M. “Peggy” Gripshover, associate professor of geography in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology, has been appointed as State Geographer for the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Gov. Steve Beshear.
Dr. Gripshover is the first woman to hold the position, which was created by the General Assembly in 1984. Her term will expire on Jan. 1, 2014.
“I am so honored to be named as the State Geographer for Kentucky and to represent WKU and the Department of Geography and Geology in this capacity,” Dr. Gripshover said. “This is a great opportunity to promote geographic issues and geographic education across the state.”
In the past, the State Geographer has been called upon to consult with state officials and planning agencies on such issues a boundaries, mapping, land use, as well serve as a geographic resource for educators.
Dr. Gripshover joined the WKU faculty as a cultural geographer in 2009. She earned her Ph.D. in geography from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography from Marshall University. Prior to coming to WKU, she was a faculty member at the University of Tennessee and Marshall University. While at Tennessee, Dr. Gripshover received the Chancellor’s Teaching Award, the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award, and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers.
Known as “Dr. G.” to her students, she teaches courses in the Geography of Kentucky, Geography of the South, World Regional Geography, Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, and Urban Geography.
Dr. Gripshover’s research interests in Kentucky extend back to the 1990s when she was involved in historic preservation in eastern Kentucky and submitted a successful National Register nomination for the Frontier Nursing Service in Leslie County.
She is engaged in two research projects in Kentucky. Her first project is to develop a map of foaling locations for Kentucky Derby winners beginning in 1875, and use those locations to track land use changes in specialized Thoroughbred breeding regions in Kentucky. Her second project is centered on a historical geography of the Shake Rag neighborhood of Bowling Green, with a focus on contributions of African Americans to the city’s cultural landscape.
Although Dr. Gripshover was born just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati, her Kentucky roots run deep. Her father, Robert Bernard Gripshover, was born in Kenton County and descended from German immigrants who settled near Erlanger after the Civil War. Her maternal grandfather was from Owingsville in Bath County. She fondly recalls many trips to Kentucky while growing up, especially those to the Lexington area that included visits to famous Thoroughbred establishments such as Calumet Farm, one of the horse farms that, decades later, would become the focus of her research.
Contact: Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Gripshover, (270) 745-3032.