MARTIN, Tenn. – The director of the Tennessee Governor-s School for the Humanities, first dean of international programs and UT Martin history professor, Dr. John Eisterhold, died about 8 p.m. Saturday, July 8, while playing softball with high school students participating in the Governor-s School.
Eisterhold, 59, suffered a massive heart attack. Funeral arrangements have not been completed at this time. Murphy Funeral Home in Martin, Tenn., is in charge of arrangements.
Stan Sieber, associate professor of history, will serve as the interim director of the Governor-s School, which ends this weekend. This was Eisterhold-s first year to serve as director of the Governor-s School. Tennessee’s best and brightest high school juniors and seniors have attended the Governor’s School for the Humanities at UT Martin for the past 17 years. This year-s session began June 18 and ends July 15. More than 125 students are participating in this year-s Governor-s School.
-We were excited with him (John Eisterhold) in his new role as director of the Governor’s School for Humanities,- said UT Martin Chancellor Philip W. Conn. -It was just one more way he demonstrated his commitment to the university.”
Eisterhold served as the first dean of UT Martin-s international programs from 1975 until 1999 when he asked to return to teaching full time in order to spend more time with his family.
-John Eisterhold leaves a grand and extraordinary legacy for UT Martin in that he is the primary person responsible for establishing the university’s international program. He has brought about partnerships with other institutions around the world,- Conn said. -John has been an unusually giving and enthusiastic force on our campus. We will miss him greatly, and we appreciate all he has done for the university.-
While serving as dean of the international programs, Eisterhold played an instrumental role in establishing a relationship with Hirosaki City, Japan, and Hirosaki University. Earlier this year, Eisterhold was presented with the first Distinguished Service Award presented by Hirosaki University. His son, John, participated in the formal award ceremony in March and accepted the award in honor of his father.
Eisterhold earned his bachelor-s and master-s degrees from Indiana University and received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Mississippi. He had special research interests in the American South, the Caribbean, West Indian history and Japanese history. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Theta. He has numerous honors and awards to his credit, including recognition as one of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association-s Outstanding Professors and the Marshall Winfield Writing Award.
Before coming to UT Martin in 1969 as an assistant professor of history, Eisterhold was an instructor at the University of Mississippi.
Outside of his responsibilities to UT Martin, Eisterhold was a member of the Martin Rotary Club, the Youth Activities Commission and the Martin Parent-Teacher Association. He was a member of the Martin Industrial Board and was a past chairman of that board. He also owned the Book Exchange, a small business in downtown Martin that sells used books.
-John Eisterhold was a very civic-minded individual,- said Martin Mayor Larry Taylor. -He had a genuine interest in Martin and he wanted to see Martin grow. He always wanted to contribute to the growth of Martin any way he could.-