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MU to Award Honorary Degree to Writer William Trogdon

December 1st, 2011

Story Contact: MU News Bureau, 573-882-6211,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – For his exceptional work within the field of writing, University of Missouri officials will present William Trogdon, better known in the literary community as William Least Heat-Moon, with an honorary degree during the Fall 2011 Honors Commencement Ceremony.

Trogdon, a world renowned travel author, released his first book in 1982, “Blue Highways.” In that book, Trogdon entices his readers with a personal account of a cross-country trip in his van. The book had enormous success, spending 34 weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

“William Trogdon has deep ties to the University of Missouri,” said Pat Okker, professor in the department of English in the MU College of Arts and Science. “His attention to the oft-neglected parts of American culture captured the nation’s readers.”

Trogdon has received four degrees from MU. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in English, and a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

After the success of “Blue Highways,” Trogdon continued to write travel novels, releasing “River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America” in 1999 and “Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey” in 2008.

Trogdon’s literary success isn’t only with travel novels, but also in historical writing. The Kansas City native wrote “PrairyErth (A Deep Map): An Epic History of the Tallgrass Prairie Country” in 1991, as an in-depth map and history of Chase County, Kan. In 2002, he released “Columbus in the Americas,” a brief history of Christopher Columbus’ journeys.

Honorary degrees are awarded to graduates or former students who have achieved distinction. Degrees also are awarded to people who have rendered distinctive services to the state or university, as well as people of high distinction from around the world.

Trogdon will receive his degree and speak at the Honors Commencement Ceremony at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 in Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus.