In his 35 years as a professor at LSU, the late Dr. Burl Noggle achieved an impressive body of accomplishments. He became one of the nation’s leading historians on America during the 1920s and 1930s; published four books—Teapot Dome: Oil and Politics in the 1920s, Into the Twenties: From Armistice to Normalcy, Working with History, and The Fleming Lectures, 1937-1990—and directed and inspired more than 75 master’s and doctoral students, as well as countless undergraduates.
“To know Dr. Burl Noggle was to be in the company of someone who treasured words, phrases and books as pearls of wisdom,” shared former student Dr. Roselyn Boneno. “His passion for collecting passages, ideas and knowledge was infectious, often challenging students to think deeper with a mere glance over those precariously perched glasses.”
He taught large sections of U.S. history surveys, specialized courses to advanced undergraduates, and narrowly tailored seminars for honor students. “In every case, he engaged his trademark intellectual curiosity and enlivened the classroom, even, on occasion, bursting into song,” his obituary read. “He challenged students to think, but he also never stopped thinking himself, redesigning his courses from one year to the next, adding new interpretations, new methods and new ideas.”
His former students revered him, and many collaborated in early 2014 to establish the Burl L. Noggle Award for Graduate Research. Fully endowed with more than $20,000 in contributions, the memorial award will be used to support travel to historical archives or to purchase needed printed sources. Noggle’s students, colleagues and family chose to honor him in this way because he was ardently supportive of graduate students, their research and their success.
“I can think of no better place to give than to the fund in Dr. Noggle’s memory that will provide graduate students in history funds to conduct their research,” shared Dr. Janice Williams Rutherford, another former student of Noggle’s.
Boneno made the first contribution to the fund, and donations began pouring in. One former student anonymously offered to match the first $3,000 in gifts. On the anniversary of his death in November, Noggle’s widow, Kathleen Randall, mailed in a gift, quoting Professor Victor Stater: “The award is a most fitting way to honor Burl’s memory. His care for his graduate students was legendary. Now, with this award … that care will continue in perpetuity.”
“For those of us who had the good fortune of working under Dr. Noggle’s careful eye, it was a blessing,” Boneno said. “For those who come later, it is our hope his influence will prevail through this award.”
Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2015.