Remembering Reverend Dr. Eugene Clayton Calhoun, Jr. – Humanitarian, Social Justice Advocate and Higher Education Pioneer

Posted by ncarter | 01/12/2010 02:32 AM


“I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” 
 
Photo courtesy of the Paine College Collins- Calaway Library Archives
Story compiled by Helene Carter

“I knew him first as my president, then as my employer, but I grew to love him as my friend,” said Dr. Mallory K. Millender, historian who graduated in 1964 from Paine College, Augusta, Georgia and went on to serve as a professor at his alma mater.  Paine College Historian,  Dr. Millender recounts the life and contributions of his friend, the late Reverend Dr. Eugene Clayton Calhoun, a Methodist minister who led Paine through “perhaps the 14 most significant years in American history – 1956-1970”.  Dr. Millender is joined by Dr. Silas Norman, President of the Paine College National Alumni Association, and by Dr. George C. Bradley, President of Paine College, who gave an account of their personal experiences with Dr. Calhoun.

The Reverend Dr. Eugene Clayton Calhoun, Jr., age 97, died on Thursday, December 31, 2009 at Givens Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  The Paine College community mourns the passing of this remarkable, gentle but fearless trailblazer who lived life filled with compassion for his fellowman. Dr. Calhoun, the eighth president of Paine College, led the effort to establish the Black College Fund through which the United Methodist Church provides funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  His “calling to serve humanity” took him across the globe from the Far East to Georgia and on each journey carved an indelible path of social justice for the invisible man and those who were voiceless.
 
In Dr. Mallory Millender’s voice, “he was loved by students, faculty, staff and alumni. We loved him because he treated us the way we hoped that all people would treat us--but few Southern whites did--with respect, fairness and love.”             
           
Dr. Silas Norman, Jr., also a Paine graduate, served as a Student Government President during Dr. Calhoun’s administration.  “I had the opportunity to be a student during the tumultuous years of civil rights activity that began to sweep the nation, “said Norman. He further commented, “The Paine College student body was very active in challenging the historic racial segregation and discrimination existent in the Augusta community. Dr. Calhoun  exhibited a level of decency, sensitivity, and support that we respected. I cannot remember a single instance where he took any action to discourage or stifle our efforts. In fact, he took a public stance in support of our activities.”
 
Millender describes Dr. Calhoun as a “bridge builder” in the community.  “He was born to Christian parents who defied segregation.  His father, a minister and a lawyer, felt that he had a moral as well as a legal responsibility to fight discrimination. And he instilled those values in his children.”
 
            Said Millender, “I believe that Dr. Calhoun was perhaps divinely placed at Paine College during the tumultuous years when this nation moved from segregation to integration. The Methodist church sent him to do mission work in the Far East because few people in the church had the skills needed to work with the cultures in Japan and China.”
 
            “From China, Dr. Calhoun came to Paine because he had long ago adopted the philosophy of the song, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord," He said.”And He just set me down in my native South in the midst of the Civil Rights Revolution."
           
“He hosted James Farmer and the Freedom Riders on the Paine campus just before their buses were turned over and burned in Anniston, Alabama in 1961. And he was president at Paine in 1970 when the Augusta riot resulted in the death of six black men, all of them shot in the back.”
 
            Remembering the Augusta riot, Millender said, “As a white man respected in the black and white communities, he was a stabilizing force when then-governor Lester Maddox sent 2,000 National Guard troops to Augusta to quell the riot, many of whom surrounded the Paine campus, "not to protect you, but to contain you," he said the head of the National Guard unit told him, adding, "We have you cordoned off." During the same month, a shot was fired into Dr. Calhoun's home, missing his head by less than a foot.”
 
            “Dr. Calhoun knew how to raise support for Paine College, said Millender. “When he came to Paine, the institution was in danger of closing for financial reasons. But Dr. Calhoun raised money, attracted outstanding faculty members, and raised expectations.”            
 
Recounting his first meeting with Dr. Calhoun, Dr. George C. Bradley, said, “A Christian man of great faith, Dr. Calhoun believed in that part of the Paine College mission to “provide a liberal arts education of the highest quality that emphasizes academic excellence, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development.”  Bradley goes on to say, “Dr. Calhoun is best known for building many of the physical structures on campus. Of particular note, the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel, was erected during his tenure. The painting that hangs in the narthex of Gilbert-Lambuth pictures Dr. John Wesley Gilbert and Bishop Walter R. Lambuth, two individuals that Dr. Calhoun admired very much.  It is said that when these humble individuals met in London to start their missionary journey to the Congo, Gilbert asked, “What shall be our relationship?” Lambuth replied, “We shall be as brothers.”  When I met Dr. Calhoun for the first time in the fall of 2008 it was if I had met a brother in the Spirit.”
 
“Dr. Calhoun was also a visionary,” commenting Dr. Millender who recounts an incident involving a Paine College professor whose work led to the establishment of the Head Start Program. Dr. Millender recounts Dr. Calhoun’s persevering actions surrounding a Paine College professor.  In the voice of Dr. Calhoun…..[“And I think I told you that Mrs. Mattie Bell Braxton, professor of education, really carried a lot of compassion for me. She put her arms around me coming down the stairs there.  And she did it with the greatest of ease, with no sense of difference in our age or in our ethnicity. She put her arms around my shoulders and said, “How are you doing?” in one of those toughest times.  And I was so distressed when they called and told me about her service, that I couldn’t go there. Our relationship was special. I don’t know how to classify it. It’s just the way it is. But I was disappointed not to be at her funeral service. And Dr. Scott went—not instead, but they did ask him, and he went. And he related a special incident.  She had made an application to one of the agencies of the national government for a grant for a program that she had designed for Paine College.  And they had turned it down because they said that there was a program at Dillard that was too much like that. And I thought that was a very poor reason for turning her down. The truth of the matter, the program was very much what eventually became known as the Head Start program. Now we were involved in Head Start.  I called the Congressman [Stephens]. I think he was from Athens or somewhere over in there. I asked him to come by the College on his way back to Washington. And I had some of our trustees meet with him.  We met in the President’s Dining Room there in the new Campus Center. I told him that they had turned us down because they said it was too much like a program at Dillard. I told him that if the program at Dillard was that good for them to make the grant, that this just seemed to me to be not just awful, but a violation of integrity. And he agreed with it. He went right back, and we got a grant that got us started in what became the Head Start Program.  But that was Mrs. Braxton’s doing. So it was a deep personal exchange between us. It’s something that I’ll always remember.”]
 
“During my last visit with Dr. Calhoun on the Paine Campus in 2009, I had the opportunity to express our appreciation for his leadership and decency that he exhibited during some very challenging years of  challenge to racial segregation and discrimination that characterized our society”, said Norman. “Even before we began our demonstrations and community meetings with Augusta City officials, I remember an incident that characterized his consistency of character and support for students. In the Spring of 1959, the College Choir took a trip to Florida. Upon returning, we had occasion to stop in Louisville, Ga. because of mechanical problems with the bus. While there at the service station where the bus was being repaired,  those of us on the bus bought soda pop from the station. We had deposits on bottles in those days, which I remember as  three to four cents. However, the proprietor charged us more than 10 cents. We were at the station longer than expected , and sought to return the bottles and retrieve our deposits. The  proprietor objected to returning our deposits, and when we insisted, he called the police. They arrived  and demanded that we board our bus and leave town. When we did not move quickly enough, we were herded to the bus at gunpoint. The last person to board the bus was the late Joseph Stinson, then Chairman of the Student Body.  Joseph was physically assaulted because he was not moving fast enough. Dr Calhoun went to Louisville to meet with Louisville City officials to protest our treatment. Then as now, his action, while appropriate, was not typical of the response we  had come to expect from White people.”
 
Dr. Calhoun was the architect of the modern Paine College environment and much of the Paine campus. Eight buildings were erected during his tenure: Gray Hall, Belle Bennett Hall, Hollis Hall, Irvin Hall, the Edmund Peters Campus Center, the President's House (Paine House), the Dean of Students' residence, and the Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel which has stones embedded, in front of the altar, which he brought back from the ruins of Ephesus in Greece. 
           
Dr. Calhoun’s book, Men Who Ventured Much and Far, tells the story of John Wesley Gilbert, a minister in the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and Walter Russell Lambuth, a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, who in 1911 went to the Belgian Congo and set up the first Methodist mission in Africa.
 
Said Dr. Bradley, “Dr. Calhoun was the oldest living past president of Paine College.  He will be sorely missed by the Paine College community and by all who knew and loved him.  We thank God for the life, wisdom and vision of Dr. E. Clayton Calhoun and pray God’s mercy for his family.  Echoing Bradley’s sentiments, Norman said, “We will miss the likes of an E. Clayton Calhoun. May he rest in peace.”

10th Annual Scholarship Masked Ball tickets now available

Posted by ncarter | 12/17/2009 04:31 AM

(AUGUSTA, GA) – The Chi-Lites will headline Paine College’s 10th Annual Scholarship Masked Ball on Friday, February 12, 2010. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. The highly anticipated black tie scholarship benefit has become Paine College’s premiere fundraising event. In the past, it has attracted celebrities and dignitaries that included, former Supreme, Mary Wilson; Grammy Award winner, Lou Rawls; Soul Food star, Darrin Henson; singer and Tony Award winner, Melba Moore; actor and singer Clifton Davis, Emmy Award winner Cicely Tyson; and 1968 Gold-Medalist, Tommie Smith and many more.

Like years before, this year’s event will be one filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on fine art at the Silent Art Auction. There will also be the famed “Parade of Masks” and the “Purple Carpet”. Guest will also enjoy an evening of fine dining, dancing, and entertainment. The College invites area businesses and corporations to participate by providing generous sponsorships for the event. Early reservations for prime seating and sponsorships are now being accepted. Tickets may be purchased for $100 from the Paine College Business Office, Haygood- Holsey Hall, Suite 109 or by calling (706) 821-8233.

 Proceeds benefit the Paine College student scholarships. About The Chi-Lites The Chi-Lites have shaped the sound of soul in the Midwest since the 1970’s. With 11 top ten R&B singles during a single decade, The Chi-Lites proved to be consistent with their popular style and sound. Some of their top-selling singles on the 70’s were “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl”. In the early 1990’s, The Chi-Lites entered the studio with a dynamic blend of all new material. Songs, such as “Happy Music”, add an up-tempo flare to their music, while “Solid Love Affair” brings listeners back to a more traditional ballad. The magic of The Chi-Lites has proven to be undiminished and will always be a vital sound to Chicago soul.

For more information contact Natasha Carter at (706) 396-7591 or ncarter@paine.edu. Please visit www.paine.edu for updates about the event.

Basketball Season Tickets for Sale

Posted by kmay | 12/11/2009 07:08 AM

Augusta, GA- The Paine College Lions and Lady Lions Basketball Teams would like your continued support by purchasing a season ticket!  Season tickets are now on sale for $100.  With the purchase of a season ticket, admission will be granted to all 2009-2010 home basketball contests including Homecoming!

For additional information, please contact Director of Athletics Ronnie O. Spry (706)-396-7599 or email rspry@paine.edu.

p-a-i-n-e

Civil rights leader keynote speaker for annual MLK Day Celebration

Posted by ncarter | 12/9/2009 12:52 PM


(AUGUSTA, GA)– On January 15, 2010 Paine College, Augusta Technical College, Augusta State University and Medical College of Georgia will present the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration. The event will began at 12 p.m. in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. This years, keynote speaker is The Reverend James Lawson, professor, pastor and civil rights leader.

Lawson first met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, and they soon joined forces to realize their dream of starting a non-violent mass movement and continued to work with King until his death but has never given up on their shared dream of racial harmony.

Lawson was dubbed by King as “the leading nonviolence theorist in the world,” studied the Gandhian movement in India before becoming a leader in the civil rights movement. His life – including his student years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. has been marked by an abiding faith in Christianity and non-violence, and a willingness to pay the price for those beliefs.

He served 13 months of a three-year prison sentence for refusing the draft during the Korean War, and was expelled from Vanderbilt in 1960 because of his work helping to desegregate lunch counters in downtown Nashville. After a national press uproar and threats of mass faculty resignations, a compromise allowed Lawson to complete his graduate studies at Vanderbilt University. He opted instead to complete his degree at Boston University.

Lawson went on to a career in the ministry, serving for 25 years as pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, before becoming pastor emeritus in 1999. He returned to Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1970-71 during a sabbatical, and that school recognized him in 1996 with its first Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni named Lawson the 2002 Walter R. Murray Distinguished Alumnus, and he was named Vanderbilt’s 2005 Distinguished Alumnus.

He continues to spend much of his time at Vanderbilt teaching, speaking and participating in discussion groups with faculty. Lawson was interviewed for the original documentary on the civil rights movement, and is delighted that another generation can view “Eyes on the Prize”. 

“It gives a picture of the scope of the (civil rights) movement,” Lawson said. “Dr. (Martin Luther) King and the movement in the black South, especially in the ‘50s and ‘60s, represents the zenith of the struggle of the American people to become the kind of people that … this idealist wants us to become.”

Vanderbilt archiving experts are cataloguing his papers, and Lawson plans to do some writing – perhaps an autobiography – based on the papers.

For more information, please contact Natasha Carter at (706) 396-7591.

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Paine College is a church-related, four-year private institution. The mission of Paine College is to provide a liberal arts education of the highest quality that emphasizes academic excellence, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development to prepare men and women for positions of leadership and service in the African American community, the nation, and the world. Paine College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees and functions partly by the generous support of The United Methodist Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Negro College Fund. For additional information visit www.paine.edu.

Alumni Spotlight: Norman '62 slated to receive Trailblazer Award from Wayne State School of Medicine

Posted by ncarter | 12/8/2009 12:38 PM

The Wayne State University School of Medicine will honor Silas Norman Jr., M.D., assistant dean for Admissions, when the school’s alumni association launches the Ensure the Dream, Secure the Future scholarship campaign Dec. 10.

Dr. Norman, assistant dean for Admissions at the School of Medicine, will receive the Trailblazer Award, which honors outstanding alumni and faculty who have made substantial contributions and demonstrated courage, initiative, innovation, risk-taking and leadership.

An assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Dr. Norman has been involved in admissions for the School of Medicine for more than 25 years.

Dr. Norman received a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences from Paine College, Augusta, Ga. in 1962 and is a 1976 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Detroit General Hospital. Dr. Norman is active in church and civic affairs and organizations. He is board chairman of the Community Health Awareness Group Inc.

He received the 2000 Alumni Achievement Awards of both the United Negro College Fund Inc. and the Organization of Black Alumni of Wayne State University.

Dr. Norman is a member of county, state and national medical societies. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is certified as an Advanced Correctional Health professional. He was recently appointed president of the Paine College National Alumni Association.

The purpose of the event, which begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Detroit Athletic Club, is to focus on scholarship initiatives, recognize scholarship donors to this campaign, showcase student organizations and their missions, and present the annual Trailblazer and Ambassador awards.

Congratulations from the Paine College Community.

Alumni Spotlight: Emmett D. Johnson '67 honored with nation's highest honor for urban education leadership

Posted by ncarter | 11/18/2009 10:24 AM

Mr. Emmett  D. Johnson '67 was honored by the Council of the Great City Schools Fall conference in Portland, Oregon in October with the 2009 Richard R. Green Award. The award is the nation's highest honor for urban education leadership.Additionally, a $10,000 scholarship will be presented in his name to an Atlanta Public School student.
 
Johnson was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education in 1997 and he has enjoyed a 12-year tenure. Johnson has played a leading role in strengthening the relationship between the school board and the superintendent. His efforts laid the groundwork for Atlanta’s transformation to a high performing school district and a national model for urban school reform.

The district’s urban reform initiatives serve as models for the nation. Signature programs include the high school transformation, single-gender learning academies, and Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) that provides intensive academic and social support services to students in kindergarten through college.

Johnson holds board chair appointments on the Accountability, Audit, Board Professional Development and Budget committees. He is also the Board's legislative liaison, a delegate for the Georgia School Board Association, and a member of the Panasonic Foundation LAP Traveling Team.

 

Submit information for the Alumni Spotlight to Ncarter@paine.edu

Paine College senior awarded prestigious Rangel Fellowship

Posted by ncarter | 05/4/2009 05:37 AM

AUGUSTA, GA) – On March 18, Courtney Gates, a senior at Paine College, was selected as a 2009 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow following a highly competitive nationwide contest. The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue careers in the U.S. Foreign Service.   Rangel Program Manager Patricia Scroggs commented, “I have no doubt that Courtney’s educational experiences at Paine College helped prepare her to excel in a highly competitive selection process.  The Rangel Program is thrilled to have Courtney as a Rangel Fellow, and I know she will use her unique talents to help address global challenges and represent the United States in the most positive light as a U.S. diplomat.”   Soon after receiving the Rangel Fellowship, Courtney also received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Taiwan, which she will begin in August 2009. She will complete her Rangel Fellowship program immediately thereafter. 
 
Courtney, who was raised in San Bernardino, California, received her Bachelors Degree in English at Paine College this Sunday.  During her time at Paine College, she has contributed to the community in a number of ways, including serving as the student representative on the Paine College Long Range Planning Committee, becoming a peer tutor, and speaking at fundraising events.  She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being the Grand Prize Winner of the Maya Angelou Essay Contest in 2007, winning second place in the Blacks in Government National Oratorical Contest in 2005, and being inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society and the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.  Courtney was also the Paine College Female Student Marshall for 2009. With a deep interest in international affairs, Courtney studied abroad at Nanjing University in China in 2007 and returned to the Jiangsu Province in 2008 to study at Suzhou University. She was selected as an Institute for International Public Policy Fellow during her sophomore year and has studied in summer policy institutes at Spelman College and the University of Maryland College Park. 

The Rangel Fellowship will provide Courtney with over $80,000 in benefits over a two-year period, including supporting her graduate education and professional development.  She will use her fellowship to pursue a Master’s Degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.  The Rangel Program will also arrange for her to work on international affairs issues for a U.S. Member of Congress during summer 2009 and at a U.S. Embassy overseas in summer 2010.   She will join the U.S. Foreign Service upon completion of her graduate degree and hopes to contribute her unique perspective and experiences to advance the interests of the United States and the global community.

The Foreign Service is a corps of working professionals who support the President of the United States and the Secretary of State to advance American foreign policy goals.  Foreign Service personnel are “front-line” personnel who can be sent anywhere in the world, at any time, in service to the diplomatic needs of the United States.  A career in the Foreign Service requires unusual commitment, uncommon motivation, and the ability to endure possible hardship while advancing and defending U.S. interests.