We are so proud of our awesome alum Dr. Cherisse Jones- Branch’97 who was one of the first recipients of the Vaughn Endowed Professorships at Arkansas State University.
The professorships have been created through the generosity of an estate gift from James E. and Wanda Lee Vaughn of Jonesboro, formerly of Delaplaine.
Inducted in 1999 into the university’s Legacy Society for donors of planned gifts, the Vaughns strongly believed in the importance of higher education and its potential to positively impact young peoples’ lives. Among the initiatives their legacy will provide at A-State will be three endowed professorships. Earnings from each endowment will be available to the selected professors to conduct research, create special learning opportunities for students, and support other facets of their academic pursuits.
Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch
A gift of $250,000 establishes the Vaughn Professorship in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication. The first recipient is Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, professor of history.
Branch, a faculty member at A-State since 2003, was named Research Professor of the Month at A-State in February. She completed her bachelor and master’s at the University of Charleston and Ph.D. at Ohio State University. She wrote Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II, which was published by University Press of Florida.
“I look at this as an opportunity to increase research into understudied subjects in Arkansas history, namely women’s history, rural history and Arkansas in general,” Jones-Branch commented. “I also want to make sure I am involved with producing the next generation of historians. That’s a critical part of what I do and I take it very seriously. I want students to know this is a very valuable career. I want to be one of these people who help students realize all that’s possible about being a historian, about valuing history, about unearthing and mining resources to tell these wonderful stories.
A Word from Dr. Branch:
Hi, I’m Dr. Cherrise Jones-Branch. I graduated from the College of Charleston with my Bachelor of Arts in 1994 and Masters Degree in 1997. Both of my degrees are in history. During my time at the College of Charleston, I had the pleasure of working with Drs. Amy T. McCandless, Alpha Bah, Bernard Powers, W. Marvin Dulaney, Stuart Knee, and other distinguished history faculty members. I found myself at the College of Charleston in 1991 after I returned from being deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1990. Although I was born and raised in Charleston and had even attempted elementary school downtown, I had not spent much time at the College. As a veteran, I was not sure where I fit in. What I quickly discovered was that I did not have to.
During my time at the College of Charleston, I took an array of courses in Women’s, African, African- American, and World history. In one of the courses I remember fondly I studied Elizabethan England. My experiences in this course later led to a study abroad to England where I visited such royal historic sites as the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, and Hever Palace. While partaking of this wonderful journey led by Drs. Nan Morrison and Amy T. McCandless, I saw Shakespearean plays, the Globe and took exciting weekend trips to Wales and Scotland.
So what am I doing now? I’m so glad you asked that question! I am currently associate professor of history at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro ( about an hour away from Memphis, TN), where I teach U.S. Women’s Civil Rights, and African American history. I most recently published Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014), and is co-editor of Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times (Athens: University of Georgia Press, (forthcoming 2018. Her current research project is “Better Living by Their Own Bootstraps”: Rural Black Women’s Activism in Arkansas, 1913-1965.
Congratulations Dr. Cherisse Jones Branch! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!