Paine College to Hold Memorial Service for Eighth President – Rev. Dr. Eugene Clayton Calhoun, Jr.
Augusta, GA – The Paine College community will celebrate the life and contributions of the late Rev. Dr. Eugene Clayton Calhoun, Jr., the College’s eighth president, on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11 a.m. in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel on the campus. Dr. Calhoun, a United Methodist minister, served as president from 1956 to 1970 and died on December 31, 2009 at Givens Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. George C. Bradley, president and the Paine College community invite the public to join family members, friends, colleagues, trustees, alumni and faculty to commemorate and honor a life well-lived.
Dr. Calhoun’s 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.
According to Paine College Historian Dr. Mallory K. Millender ’64, Dr. Calhoun was loved by students, faculty, staff and alumni. “We loved him because he treated us in the way we hoped that all people would treat us – but few Southern whites did – with respect, fairness and love.”
Dr. Silas Norman, Jr., president of the Paine College National Alumni Association, served as Student Government President during Dr. Calhoun’s administration. Dr. Norman recalled that the Paine College student body was very active in challenging the historic racial segregation and discrimination that existed in the Augusta community. “Dr. Calhoun exhibited a level of decency, sensitivity, and support that we respected,’ said Norman. “I cannot remember a single instance where he took any action to discourage or stifle our efforts. In fact, he took public stances in support of our activities.”
Dr. 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. As a white man respected in the black and white communities, he was a stabilizing force during tumultuous years in Augusta. Dr. Calhoun knew how to raise financial support, attract outstanding faculty and raise 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.” Dr. 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 depicts 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’s last visit to Paine College occurred in 2009; many of Paine’s graduates who were students during his tenure had the opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation for his leadership during the years of racial segregation and discrimination.
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.
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.’
For more information contact Natasha Carter at 678-215-8576 or Ncarter@paine.edu
The public is invited to attend.