The professorship was established as a memorial to the late Joseph F. Freeman III. Joe, a native of Greensboro, attended Appalachian from 1976-78 and then transferred to UNC Chapel Hill where he graduated in 1980.
After graduation, Joe accepted a position with Aetna Casualty and Surety Company in Charlotte. In addition to working as an underwriter and in marketing, he was chosen to help plan and head the "Gemini" program in North Carolina, an automation program for independent insurance agencies. While traveling between agency visits, Joe was involved in a fatal automobile accident in 1984; he was 25.
Contributions from the Freeman family, friends and the insurance industry to the Appalachian State University Foundation were matched by funds from a North Carolina professorship program to create the position. The professorship program is designed to attract and keep exceptional faculty in the UNC system.
Joe's father, Joseph F. Freeman Jr., believed his son's time at Appalachian was instrumental in his personal and professional development. Joseph F. Freeman Jr., an insurance agent, is a member of the Walker College of Business Advisory Council and the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors.
Joe's grandfather, Joseph F. Freeman, Sr., retired as vice-president of Pilot Life Insurance Company (now Jefferson-Pilot) after a 48-year career.
Dr. Lori Medders serves as the Joseph F. Freeman Distinguished Professor of Insurance.