Senior Vice Chancellor Walter Givhan will serve as chairman of the Alabama Historical Commission.
The AHC is the state’s official historic preservation agency. According to Givhan, the members of the commission are the “keepers of heritage.”
The commission is responsible for conducting geographic surveys and handling the state and national historical registers.
Many state universities have a member on the commission, Givhan said. He was nominated by Chancellor Jack Hawkins in November 2014 and has served as the treasurer of the commission.
“I have always been fascinated with history, so this was a perfect role for me,” he said. “I am excited to serve the people of Alabama and enhance the beauty of our state, for those inside and outside of the state.”
Givhan said he hopes to make the AHC more visible during his time as chairman, as well as helping the commission find new uses for old buildings.
“I want the commission to become even more visible in accomplishing its mission of protecting, preserving and interpreting,” Givhan said.
Givhan said he hopes to continue the ongoing effort to expel the myth that the commission is a hindrance to development.
“We see this as being a harmonious relationship between historic preservation and economic development,” he said. “There is no reason the two can’t work together to do great things, and in doing so, enhancement the character of the places to make them even more attractive for businesses and tourism.”
According to Givhan, his position will make TROY a place for students and faculty to pursue increased involvement in special projects, like Native American archeological digs throughout the state and working with the Smithsonian.
“TROY University has a big role in this, so I want to involve TROY more in this,” Givhan said. “I believe that there is a place here for our students, faculty, professors. I would like to see students with TrojanVision working to publicize the projects that we are working on.”
Givhan said the commission could be on the brink of a huge archeological and historical find in the Mobile River. According to Givhan, wreckage found in the Mobile River could be that of the slave ship Clotilda.
The Clotilda was the last slave ship to enter the U.S. illegally in 1860, and it was burned in the Mobile River to hide the evidence.
“The Alabama Historical Commission has a responsibility to the people of Alabama,” Givhan said. “More than that though, we have a responsibility to the descendants who live in Africatown outside of Mobile.
“This just serves to highlight that the Alabama Historical Commission has a critical role in protecting the historical and educational value of the site,” he said. “It really is very exciting.”