ITEM 112-1003-R0701 Professor Emeritus Status for David M. Emmons, Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences; The University of Montana-Missoula
THAT: David Michael Emmons, concluding his thirty-fourth year of dedicated service to The University of Montana, has merited the commendation of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System, and has earned the title of Professor of History Emeritus.
EXPLANATION: David Michael Emmons earned his Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of Colorado-Boulder where he studied under the eminent Western historian (from Kremlin, Montana) Robert G. Athearn. After one year at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, he joined the faculty of the History Department at The University of Montana in 1967. He rose through the ranks from Instructor to Professor (1976) and served as Department Chair (1980-1982). Professor Emmons has taught a variety of courses, from the introductory to the graduate level. His “Ireland and the Irish-Americans” has been a student favorite for nearly twenty years. He was the winner of UM’s “Distinguished Teacher Award” in 1994 and the “Outstanding Academic Advising Award” in 1998. The quality of the education that the University delivers to its students has always been David Emmons’s preeminent concern.
Professor Emmons’s first book, Garden in the Grasslands (1971), explained boomer literature on the frontier of the Central Great Plains in the 19th century. Then he discovered the Irish population of Butte, Montana. He has published a dozen scholarly articles on the subject, and his book, The Butte Irish: Class and Ethnicity in an American Mining Town, 1875-1925 (University of Illinois Press, 1989), remains the best historical monograph ever written about Montana. A joint committee of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians awarded it the Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty Centennial Prize as the best book published on American Immigration history in 1989. In that year, Professor Emmons also won the Burlington Northern Distinguished Achievement Award for Scholarship.
Professor Emmons continues to work. He has finished the research and is currently writing an interpretive history of Irish Catholics in the American West. Tentatively entitled, “A Better Country: Irish Catholic Settlement and Survival in America’s West, 1845-1945,” the forthcoming work will continue to reflect well on the Montana University System for many years to come.
Over the course of his thirty-four years at The University of Montana, David Emmons has given countless talks and speeches to a wide variety of groups and organizations and has served on a great many departmental, University, community, and professional committees.
The Department of History proudly recommends Professor David Michael Emmons for Emeritus status.