A packed house was on hand as Dan Pierce, UNC Asheville’s NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, received the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association.
Pierce, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues as the trophy was presented, stated “I am extremely honored by my selection to receive this award. I am certainly in good company looking at past winners.” A specialist in Southern and Appalachian history, Pierce has written several books pertaining to Western North Carolina including his latest book, Hazel Creek. Earlier works include, The Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which features 40 original posters and historical information covering a wide variety of topics relating to the Smokies. In Hazel Creek, Pierce explores the complex history of the boom-and-bust mining and logging town, now located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


The WNC Historical Association has presented its Outstanding Achievement Award annually since 1954 to an individual or organization which has made significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of the history of the mountain region. According to WNC Historical Association Executive Director, Tim Tipton: “Dan exemplifies and embodies why the outstanding achieve award was created. He has made tremendous contributions to Western North Carolina over the course of his life. The award is well deserved.”

Dan also presented a lecture on his recent book, Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, home of the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute).

Dr. Pierce (4th from left) and Family

Dr. Dan Pierce (left) with WNCHA President, Allan Tarleton (right)