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Summer, 1991 Volume 36 Number
Newsmagazine for Alumni, Parents and Friends
Chowan concludes 143rd year, graduates 144
The day dawned sunny and bright
and it was tmly a glorious sight when
the 1991 graduation candidates began
their march down the front steps of
the McDowell Columns Building to
the campus green where they were
presented associate degrees and di
Chowan College concluded its
143rd academic year with commence
ment exercises on Saturday, May 18.
President Jerry F. Jackson conferred
associate degrees on 137 graduates.
Four students were awarded three-year
diplomas in commercial art. Three
students received one-year diplomas
and eight students graduated with the
highest academic honors.
The Honorable G. William
Whitehurst, U. S. Congressman from
Virginia, 1969 to 1987, delivered the
commencement address. Commenting
that the dynamic driving us into the
21st century is high technology, Dr.
Whitehurst also lamented the fact that
there is a significant decline in news
paper readership and students of to
day seem to be learning very little
geography. He cited other evidence of
the decline in education.
“Who and what arc to blame for
this condition? Let me observe that
the new technology is not to blame—
that’s a crutch—; not the federal gov
ernment for granting less money. I
was educated in a generation, the 50’s
and 60’s, when there were NO federal
“The answer is almost too simple,
but it is at the root of our other social
problems as well. If a child is not
motivated at home and instilled with
the values of scholarship and self-dis
cipline, the task of education becomes
Dr. Whitehurst urged the graduates
to “make excellence in all things your
goal and you will serve others as you
Charlotte Soi^iia Pitt, firom Nas
sau, Bahamas, the graduating class
president, presented a Chowan flag,
designed by the sophomore class, to
the college in memory of Dr. Earl H.
Parker, the late professor of religion
and philosophy who was awarded the
Excellence in Teaching award last
Mrs. Earl (Liba) Parker was pre
sented a replica of the flag.
“My family and I are deeply grate
ful. He loved Chowan College, the
students, and he loved to teach. I want
to thank you, the graduating students,
and may life be good to you,” said
Dr. B. Franklin Lowe, vice presi
dent for academic affairs, presented
this year’s Excellence in Teaching
Awaid to Dr. Carl L. Garrott, profes
sor of foreign language in the depart
ment of language and literature. This
prestigious award goes to the outstand
ing teacher during the year as voted
upon by the other members of the col
Phyllis Dewar, faculty marshall and
professor of science, delivered the
invocation and devotional and chal
lenged the graduation candidates to
think for a moment about the prin
ciples of science as they reflected on
their own lives.
All graduates and their families
were honored at a breakfast at the
home of Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Jackson
graduation morning. A luncheon was
served under tents on the lawn imme
diately following graduation.
Graduation exercises brought to a
conclusion a busy and successful aca
demic year for Chowan College. It
was the first year the college offered
the innovative academic support pro
gram which assists students who need
special services such as tutoring,
computer labs and students who have
learning disabilities. Over 90 percent
of this year’s graduates transferred to
senior colleges and universities.
Dr. Carl Garrott was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award.
One graduate, Jemeul Johnson, from
East Orange, NJ, came to Chowan firom
Rochester Institute of Technology in
New Yoik to study printing technol
ogy at a small school where he could
get more “hands-on” training.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. "The
professors here really care and give
you extra attention.”
After graduation from Chowan, he
hopes to go on to San Francisco State
to study printing technology and edu
cation so he can one day teach in the
field of graphic conununications.
Chowan's request for four-year
granted by Baptist Convention
The request by Chowan College to return to four-year status was ap
proved by the General Board of the Baptist State Convention of North
Carolina earlier this year and the transition to four-year institutional status
is progressing on schedule, according to President Jerry Jackson.
The Committee on Institutional Transition, composed of faculty/staff
and representatives of the Board of Trustees, began to function almost
immediately after the trustees made the decision that Chowan would re
turn to four-year. One of the early duties of the committee was to prepare
a report for the Council on Christian Higher Education of the Baptist State
Convention of North Carolina supporting tiie request of the college that it
be permitted to move to four-year status. This request was Aen approved
by a special committee of the Council, by the full Council, and by the
General Board of the Baptist State Convention of Nonh Carolina. (See
page 7 for further details about the four-year transition.)
Descendant of 1863 alumna
funds Rightmire scholarship
Maylia (MoUie) G. Rightmire, of Lynchburg, Va., has established the
Maylia G. Rightmire Scholarship for students attending Chowan College.
She established the scholarship by means of a Charitable Gift Annuity in
the amount of $150,000.
“We are both pleased and honored that Mollie Rightmire has presented
Chowan with this generous gift,” said President Jerry F. Jackson, “Because
of her desire to help others, students in need of financial aid will reap the
benefits of an education at Chowan.”
Originally from Emporia, Va., Mollie Rightmire today resides in Lyn
chburg, Va., and at her “cottage” on the Rappahannock River in Virginia
where she “can get away from it all”. Her grandmother, Mary Olivia Parker
Green, graduated from Chowan, the only member of the class of 1863.
“My grandmother was from Emporia and attended Chowan when it was
an all-female Baptist college,” Mollie remembers. “She loved Chowan
The Green Science Building (today Green Hall which houses the divi
sion of art) was erected in 1955-56 through a gift from Rufus J. Green in
honor of his mother and Mollie’s grandmother, Mary Olivia Parker Green.
Mollie lived in New York while growing up, but lived in Whitesville,
Va. after she married Harry Omell Righonire. She attended Mary Baldwin
College and Randolph-Macon College, as well as studied abroad for one
year. She was married for 41 years and at her husband’s death, moved to
Lynchburg to live with her sister.
“I came to Chowan recenUy with no expectations. I met the delightful
president of the college and other faculty and staff members and decided it
would be a wonderful thing to establish a scholarship at Chowan,” she
During her visit to Chowan, Mollie toured Green Hall, named for her
grandmother. A portrait of Mary Olivia Parker Green is located in the An
tiquities Room of Whitaker Library.