YSU names Reeder Endowed Professor of History

Amy Laurel Fluker
Amy Laurel Fluker

Amy Laurel Fluker, assistant professor of History at Youngstown State University who specializes in the study of Civil War memory, has been named the Robert W. Reeder I Memorial Endowed Professor of History at YSU.

The professorship was bestowed at a ceremony today inside DeBartolo Hall on the YSU campus by Robert Reeder III and Charles Howell, dean of the Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education at YSU.

“Endowed professorships like this raise the academic reputation of the university, bring accomplished scholars to the community and give students the opportunity to work side-by-side with top researchers,” Howell said. “We are grateful for Mr. Reeder’s generosity and thrilled to have Dr. Fluker in this position.”

Reeder III, a 1981 YSU graduate and now a partner in a New York law firm, donated $1 million to YSU’s “We See Tomorrow” campaign to create professorships in History and English in honor of his grandparents – Robert W. Reeder I and Grace Ruth.

"I am very pleased that Dr. Fluker has been awarded the inaugural Robert W. Reeder I Memorial Professorship in History,” Reeder III said. “Dr. Fluker possesses exactly the qualities and has a terrific three-year plan that will honor the memory of my grandfather. I can’t thank the YSU Foundation enough for making this endowed professorship a reality.”

HowellFluker holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from Westminster College in Missouri and master’s and PhD degrees in American History from the University of Mississippi. She was a visiting professor at Mississippi before joining the YSU faculty in 2018.  Fluker’s interest focuses on the intersection between regional identity and Civil War commemoration in the west.

Fluker will teach undergraduate and graduate students and maintain active agendas in research and scholarship.

“It is an honor to be named the first Reeder Memorial Endowed Professor of History at YSU,” Fluker said. “​I share Mr. Reeder's love of local history, and I look forward to working with students and the community ​in ways that reflect his interests.” 

Reeder I was a life-long resident of Youngstown and later in life lived in Greenford, Ohio. To support his family, Reeder went to work in the steel mills as a teenager and never had the opportunity to pursue his dream – to go to college and law school. He loved reading, history in particular. In his retirement, he was president of the Columbiana Historical Society, a zoning commissioner for Green Township, and spent much of his time traveling Ohio with his wife, visiting historical sites. He was particularly interested in transportation, and also had a love for covered bridges.

Grace Ruth also was a life-long resident of Youngstown whose dream to attend college and ultimately become a lawyer was cut short by her father’s untimely death. An avid reader and skilled writer, she graduated from high school in just two years. She tutored underprivileged students, taught Sunday School at John Knox Presbyterian Church, was the president of the PTA at Garfield and Williamson elementary schools and was a Cub Scout den mother. She supported civil rights long before the protests of the 1960’s, and she gave generously to charities aimed at helping the poor.

YSU now has 12 endowed faculty positions on campus: Morris and Phyllis Friedman Chair in Engineering, Paul J. Thomas Chair in Economics, Lariccia Family Chair in Finance, John S. and Doris M. Andrews Chair in Accounting, Charles Darling Chair in American Social History, John “Jack” and Nuggie DePizzo Chair in Gerontology, David and Helga Ives Distinguished Visiting Humanities Scholar, Grace Ruth Professorship in English, Mr. and Mrs. William B. Clayman Professorship in Judaic and Holocaust Studies, Robert W. Reeder I Professorship in History, Medical Mutual of Ohio Professorship in Actuarial Science and the Enyon Beyer Chair in Metallurgy.