Each year, it is our great privilege to posthumously honor outstanding members of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) community who have left an indelible mark on the HBCU family. Their incredible legacies, are a lamp unto our paths as we seek to advance the mission and curate our visions for HBCUs in the twenty-first century. In our inaugural year, we honored fourth generation Fisk University alumna and forty-year Special Collections Archivist Beth Madison Howse.
This year we pay tribute to the life and work of Fisk University Professor Emeritus Dr. L.M. Collins, West Virginia State University President Emeritus Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr., North Carolina A&T State University Director of Band Dr. Johnny B. Hodge, Jr., Tennessee State University alumna and staffer Mrs. Mary Yancey Love, and Spelman alumna, archivist and college historian Ms. Taronda Spencer.
SPONSORED BY FISK UNIVERSITY | The largesse of Fisk University Professor Emeritus L.M. Collins, a man who was said to have “walked between the raindrops” is still inspiring generations of Fiskites. So signature, were, his tribly hat, and his greetings “First Class” and “Friend,” that the latter became his own special moniker. Having been among the first graduates to cross Dillard University’s Avenue of the Oaks in 1936, Collins received a master’s degree from Fisk in 1937. Awarded the nation’s first Ph.D. in American Culture from Case Western Reserve University in 1945, the same year he began his legendary teaching career at Fisk. As the cousin to novelist, poet and librarian Arna Bontemps, his connection to the Harlem Renaissance through Fisk’s “Golden Era” was easily impressive. Dr. Collins, who liked to point out that he was not old enough to be in the renaissance, happily introduced subsequent generations of Fiskites to the people synonymous with the 1920s black cultural, social, and artistic movement. The last of the “Fisk Immortals,” his many students include the poet, writer and activist Nikki Giovanni and HBCUstory founder Dr. Crystal deGregory. On the 146th anniversary of the birth of Fisk alumnus Dr. W.E.B Du Bois, Collins peacefully transitioned from Fisk immortal to immortal life. We’d like to think that Friend, who loved a good joke and a great party, couldn’t miss even one more of Du Bois’ birthday parties.
SPONSORED BY WEST VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY | West Virginia President Emeritus Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. grew up on the campus of Tennessee State University, where his parents Hazo Sr. and Elizabeth Forbes Carter both worked. As a student at Tennessee State, the younger Carter worked hard to avoid taking his mother’s class as well as the class of his godfather Dr. McDonald Williams. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1968 he received a master’s degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana the following years. After earning a doctorate of education from Vanderbilt University in 1975, he began his administrative career began at Norfolk State University under Harrison B. Wilson, whose mentorship guided him to the presidency of Philander Smith College. While in Norfolk, Carter met and fell head over heels for Judge Phyllis Harden Carter, with whom he’d share a thirty-two year marriage and their daughter Angela. When Dr. Carter began his 25-year tenure as ninth president of the then West Virginia State College in 1987, Angela became a campus kid, as was her father before her. Desegregation rapidly and drastically changed the demographics of West Virginia State’s student body. Balancing serving a predominately white, commuter and older student body and preserving the school’s historic mission was not easy. Even so, President Carter successfully led a 12-year quest to regain the institution’s 1890 land-grant status. His many other credits include the founding of the Business, Industry and Education Cluster Program and the establishment of the National Center for Human Relations with his wife in 1999. Before retiring in 2012, raising of the institution to university status was among his most cherished and enduring accomplishments.
SPONSORED BY THE HBCU NATION RADIO | North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University Director of Band Dr. Johnny B. Hodge Jr. was many things to the many students under his more than two-decade-long leadership of the Blue & Gold Marching Machine. A compassionate father, mentor and friend, Doc Hodge he was also called many other things. As unyielding as he was unapologetic in his standard of excellence, he knew it and didn’t mind one bit. If you didn’t give your best, he’d let you know about it in a vernacular that you wouldn’t forget. Believing that there were no gains without pains took the Henderson, North Carolina native Johnny Baxter Hodge Jr. from the loving rearing of his paternal grandparents George and Lessie Hodge of Henderson to North Carolina Central University to a long and storied career at A&T. From his arrival on A&T’s campus in 1980, the “small band with a big sound” was Doc’s passion; his musical fury, shared by a group of battle-tested students was unleashed onto unsuspecting rivals and fanbases on any given Saturday afternoon. A driving force in band at historically black colleges during his tenure, Doc leaves behind a legacy of artistic innovation that lives on through his many students and the Marching Machine.
SPONSORED BY REP. HAROLD M. LOVE, JR. | Born on a farm in Somerville, Tennessee, Tennessee State University alumna and 50+ year staffer Mary Alice Yancey Love didn’t have to travel far to attend college at Tennessee A & I State College in 1949 to know that she, was going places. Listed as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges by the time she graduated in in 1952, she also received a master’s degree for A &I in 1956. Marrying fellow alumnus Harold M. Love, Sr. in 1959, Love helped her husband became the third-ever African-American elected to Nashville’s first city council, a charter member of the inaugural Metro Nashville City Council, and a state representative for the 58th district of Tennessee. Their son Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., also a Tennessee State alumnus, proudly holds the same office today—making Mrs. Love the only woman to have been both a wife and the mother of a legislator in the state of Tennessee. Having begun her career at what is now Tennessee State University in 1956, Love impacted generations of TSU TRIO programs and Upward Bound students. Affectionately known as “Mama Love,” she retired in November of 2013 after 57 years of employment at Tennessee State University having impacted scores of former students including Olympic Gold Medalist Ralph Boston and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr.
SPONSORED BY DCH CONSULTING SERVICES, LLC – WORKFORCE CONSULTANT | Spelman College alumna, archivist and college historian, Taronda Spencer’s story is the Spelman story. A native of New Orleans, Spencer was the second-generation archivist daughter of Emanuella Spencer. Her mother’s hope that she’d attend college close to home was lost to the beckoning of Spelman, were she entered as a student in the fall of 1976 on a full scholarship. As a student, she remained greatly influenced by Spelman alumna and Professor Millicent Dobbs Jordan, who first introduced her to Spelman, and began studying alongside alumna Ernestine E. Brazeal, who was leading efforts to preserve the college’s history and memorabilia for its centennial celebration. Following her graduation from Spelman in 1980, Spencer earned a master’s degree from the University of New Orleans in 1985. In 1997, she was hired as Spelman College’s first full-time archivist, and was appointed college historian in 2000. Known for her lively, passionate and thorough oral presentations on Spelman’s history and traditions, she routinely helped researchers, students and anyone else who may have been looking, to not find out about Spelman’s past. She made them love the Spelman story.