Warren Ashby was born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1920. He graduated with a bachelor of arts from Maryville College in 1939, taught briefly at UNC Chapel Hill in 1946, and earned the B.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1949. Following graduation, Ashby joined the faculty of Woman’s College (now UNCG) where he taught philosophy until his retirement in 1983. Ashby, who specialized in western ethics, served as head of the Department of Philosophy for twenty years. He was also founding Director of the Residential College, an ordained Methodist minister, and a recipient of the UNCG Alumni Teaching Excellence Award in 1967. He was the author of Frank Porter Graham, a Southern Liberal and A Comprehensive History Of Western Ethics: What Do We Believe?
In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Ashby participated in efforts to improve race relations in Greensboro. Ashby served on a number of local committees, including the Greensboro Human Relations Commission. From 1964 to 1966, Ashby was the Associate Director of the international affairs division of the American Friends Service Committee in Delhi, India. He is a recipient of the February One Society Award and has a lecture series and a residential college named in his honor at UNCG. Warren Ashby died on October 3, 1985.