SC State’s largest reunion class donation to fund teacher education scholarships

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


SC State’s ‘Golden Class’ of 1957, contributed $122,000 to the University and recently decided how they wanted their gift to be used.

Class members, Geneva G. Heggins, Lena M. Dowling, Connie H. Terry, Thurman D. Shuler, Thea W. Cleckley, Rev. Leroy Thomas, Claude S. Terry and Ulysses Jarvis met with interim vice president for Institutional Advancement, Dr. Jackie Epps and assistant vice president of Development, Dr. John Berry to sign their gift agreement.

The class decided to place $100,000 in an endowment for teacher education scholarships; $10,000, to the College of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences to be used to recruit teacher education majors and to assist education students to succeed on required certification examinations; $4,000 to the football program; $4,000 to the Miller F. Whittaker Library, and $4,000 to the Marching 101 band.

“Dr. McIntyre (then Dean) impressed upon us the need to support the University,” said Thea Cleckley, 1957 class member. “Our class, wanted to ensure that we leave a perpetual source of funding to support our future educators,” she stated.

“When I met with members of the Class, then as dean of the College of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and presented to them the need for their support, I learned that they were visionaries, who wanted to ensure the continued success of SC State, most especially the teacher education program,” said Dr. Leonard A. McIntyre, interim president of SC State University. “I sincerely thank the Class of 1957 and all who support SC State by providing scholarships to deserving University students,” he continued.

“I am extremely euphoric to be a member of the Class of 1957 and to be a part of the sizable monetary contribution that we made to my Alma Mater,” said class member Thurman D. Shuler who supported the effort by donating the largest single gift by a class member, more than $30,000.

“As a Christian, I adhere to the principle of caring and sharing. As a retired educator, I believe in giving back to the community, especially to those individuals and institutions that so caringly molded me in to the person I am. I shall always be a loyal, supporting son of South Carolina State University and will always sing her well-deserved praises,” Shuler continued.

The 1975 Class Reunion Committee, officially organized in 1982 has historically been a close group of SC State supporters. They keep in touch, and involved in each others lives via a newsletter called Tidbits. Published bi-annually, class members share their accomplishments, changes in their family, children’s marriages, grandchildren’s births, and of course, sometimes deaths.

“Our closeness isn’t something that’s new,” said Ulysses Jarvis, class member. “We held hands, studied together, borrowed each others books, and now we are collectively giving back to the University that has given us so much,” Jarvis said.

“More than 77 individual class members contributed to the $122, 000,” said Connie H. Terry, 1957 Class Reunion Committee Chairperson since the group organized in 1982. “Our class received acknowledgement for making the largest reunion class contribution in 1997 and 2002,” she continued. “Our class was challenged and we extend a challenge to other classed to give to our Alma Mater.”