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October 2004

Release Date: October 21, 2004

ASU Historian Honored by Postal Service for Work on Stamp Advisory Committee

The U.S. Postal Service hosted a Thursday dinner in Washington, D.C., to honor Dr. Virginia Noelke, chair and professor of history at Angelo State University, upon her retirement as chair of the Postmaster General's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.

Noelke's retirement comes after nearly 30 years service on the committee, including the last 11 years as chair. During her tenure on the committee, Noelke was instrumental in selecting more than 2,400 postage stamp subjects from more than a million suggestions. She also served on the Design Committee and helped choose and revise the art that illustrated those subjects.

Postmaster General John E. Potter presented Noelke with a framed letter from President George W. Bush, thanking her for her "dedicated service." She also received a congratulatory note from former President Bill Clinton.

"Virginia's commitment to communicating the American experience through postage stamps and stationery has been an invaluable asset to the Postal Service and our nation," Potter said. "Over the years Virginia has brought a unique and valued historical perspective to the work of the committee, a perspective nurtured by her distinguished professional career as chairman and professor of history of the Angelo State University Department of History."

Noelke said, "It has been tremendously rewarding for 30 years to work with many talented and dedicated people, members, art directors and Postal Service staff alike. The goal has been to produce a superior United States stamp program. I hope we have succeeded."

Potter credited Noelke's knowledge of American history with helping guide the committee in developing several stamp series that celebrated contemporary American culture. Those stamps included the popular American Music series, Legends of Hollywood series and the American Treasures series. She also played a strong role in the selection of stamps for the Legends of the West and Civil War series.

Noelke was appointed to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee in 1975 by Postmaster General Benjamin F. Bailar. Her first stamp subject was the American Bicentennial. Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon appointed her chair in 1993. She was succeeded as chair by Dr. C. Douglas Lewis, effective Friday. The committee is composed of 13 members whose backgrounds reflect a wide range of educational, artistic, historical and professional expertise. All share an interest in philately and fulfilling the needs of postal customers.

Noelke joined the ASU history faculty in 1971. She holds her bachelor's and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.