By Robert W. Dalton
Dr. Tracy Revels loves teaching history and writing.
Because of her passion for that combination, Revels, professor of history, has been named the Laura and Winston Hoy Professor of Humanities.
“This is a very great honor,” says Revels. “Wofford has really been my life since I was 28 years old. It’s nice to be able to add this as a part of that life.”
The endowed professorship was established through a gift from Laura and Winston Hoy of Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2007, with additional funds from the Daniel estate. They are the parents of Will Hoy ’03, and Laura Hoy is a former member of Wofford’s board of trustees.
Revels follows Dr. Deno Trakas, who was the Laura and Winston Hoy Professor of Literature until his retirement in 2020.
“I just adore Deno,” says Revels. “His class (on novel writing) is the only one I ever audited at Wofford. To be able to be gifted with something he held is really special to me.”
Dr. Tim Schmitz, provost, says Revels was a natural fit for the professorship.
“Being named the Laura and Winston Hoy Professor of Humanities speaks to Dr. Revels’ long career in the classroom,” Schmitz says. “She’s a popular professor of history who also has distinguished herself with books and presentations about women in the Civil War and Florida tourism.”
Revels came to Wofford in 1991 after a year of serving as a visiting assistant professor of history at Georgia Southern University. She says it’s sometimes hard to believe she’s been a Terrier for more than 30 years.
“Just the other day, I had a student ask why I’ve stayed so long,” Revels says. “It just always felt right. This is the way I want to teach, the way I want to interact with my colleagues and the way I want to do research. I met my husband here. Wofford really does feel like family.”
Two of Revels’ first students — Dr. Phillip Stone ’94, college archivist, and Dr. Dwain Pruitt ’95, chief equity officer — are now her colleagues. She also has taught the children of several of her early students.
“My rule is firm. I’ll teach anybody’s son or daughter, but when a grandchild shows up, somebody else gets to be Hoy Professor,” Revels says with a laugh. “I’ll run on that day.”
In addition to her work in the classroom, Revels is an accomplished author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her book “Grander in Her Daughters: Florida’s Women During the Civil War” received the 2005 Rembert Patrick Prize from the Florida Historical Society for the best academic work in Florida history. She’s planning to write a similar book about South Carolina women.
She’s also the resident expert on all things Sherlock Holmes. She has written three Sherlock Holmes novels and in 2021 was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars, an exclusive literary society based in New York City that is dedicated to the fictional detective.
“I really do love that Wofford allows me to do more than teach basic American history,” Revels says. “I enjoy getting to interact with students in other ways. And Wofford has encouraged my outside activities.”