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Elmer Ross Browning was born on April 17, 1904, in Logan, West Virginia to Samuel Scott Browning and Roxie Bell Hicks Browning. Browning attended Bowling Green College of Commerce before earning a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in 1932, a M.Ed. from Duke University in 1936, and an Ed.D. from Colorado State College of Education in 1942. After receiving his education, Browning served with the U.S. War Department Information and Education Division in the European Theater.1
He served as a high school principal in West Virginia from 1925 until 1936 before accepting the position of the Director of the department of commerce (later named the School of Business) at East Carolina College that year.2 He used this position to help advance the school of business, which added accounting, business law, shorthand and office practice, typing, office machines, salesmanship, and economics courses for its students, and received accreditation for its master’s degree in business administration in 1966. The school of business gained recognition and full accreditation by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business when East Carolina gained university status in 1967. He also served as faculty manager of the student store and the Y-Hut. Browning retired in 1968 and moved to Switzerland.3
Elmer R. Browning was married to Marie Boggess, an assistant professor of English at East Carolina for thirty-two years. Together, they raised one son, Robert R. Browning, a former North Carolina Superior Court judge.4 Elmer Browning died at his Swiss home in June 1990.5 In 2014, a classroom in the Harold Bate Building was dedicated in his honor.
1 "Biographical Data Form,"
2 "Biographical Data Form,"
3 James Batten, In Retrospect, p. 11; “Browning Memorial Scheduled,” The Greenville Daily Reflector, June 13, 1990.
4 Batten, In Retrospect, p. 11.
5 "Browning Memorial Scheduled," The Greenville Daily Reflector, June 13, 1990.