News Thomas To Kick Off Summer Joan Crawford Lecture Series On June 15 - Garrett College
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Campus News

June 7th, 2022

Thomas to kick off summer Joan Crawford Lecture Series on June 15

Presentation explores folk traditions of mountain Maryland and beyond


Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas, associate professor of sociology at Frostburg State University, will kick off the first summer presentation of the Joan Crawford Lecture Series on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Garrett College Auditorium.

Thomas’s presentation will explore folk traditions of mountain Maryland and beyond, focusing on themes of stability and transformation and the reframing of Appalachian identity in the twenty-first century.

Garrett College was named a grant recipient of the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA). Made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, grant funding is being used to sponsor the summer lecture series.

Dr. Thomas holds a combined PhD in Folklore and American Studies and an MA in Folkore from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies from the University of Missouri- Columbia.

She is the coordinator of a Minor in Cultural Anthropology. Her interdisciplinary academic interests include: Folklore and Folklife Studies, Appalachian Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Environmental Sociology.

As a partner with the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council, Dr. Rogers Thomas directs Folklore and Folklife Programming at Frostburg State University. As part of those efforts, she coordinates the annual FSU Appalachian Festival in September and manages Mountain City Traditional Arts, a shop and venue on Frostburg’s Main Street dedicated to the sales, presentation, documentation and perpetuation of the traditional arts in the Appalachian region.

Since the mid-1990s, her academic work and research has focused on the Appalachian Region. She is an Appalachian Teaching Fellow through the Appalachian Teaching Project, supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and East Tennessee State University. Those efforts highlight student experiential and service learning in the region, providing students with the opportunity to present their work to ARC officials and ATP participants each Fall and to attend and participate in the Appalachian Studies Association annual conference each Spring.

Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas is a 2012-2013 University of Maryland Board of Regents’ Faculty Award Winner in Public Service. She is current chair of the President’s Advisory Council for Sustainability, a member of the FSU’s Honors Committee, and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. Each Spring, Dr. Rogers Thomas coordinates Focus Frostburg, a campus-wide event centered on environmental and cultural sustainability.

Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas has formerly served as president of the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association, and is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Appalachian Studies Association. She has served on multiple boards and organizations in the region.

In memory and in honor of the dynamic educator Joan R. Crawford, the Garrett College faculty created the Joan Crawford Lecture Series. Crawford, who died on October 5, 2010, served the College community for more than 30 years. She joined the staff of the fledgling community college in 1972 and worked in many capacities in the decades that followed, including serving as the head of the humanities division and director of enrollment. After her retirement, Crawford was named Professor Emerita.

The Joan Crawford Lecture Series of presentations are offered free of charge and the public and community members are invited to attend. All presentations from the Joan Crawford Lecture Series will be available to view online through the College's Facebook page. The lectures will be live streamed and recordings will be posted shortly after the event.

For more information, persons may contact Jenny Meslener at 301-387-3022 or